News
8/29/2008
02:31 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Storage Acquisitions

Brocade's purchase of Foundry Networks seems like a smart move, but technology acquisitions in general and storage acquisitions in specific never seem to pay off well. OK, never is a bit extreme, but it does seem rare and failure here hurts everyone. It distracts the buying company, often ruins the software from the bought company, and leaves users hanging in the balance.

Brocade's purchase of Foundry Networks seems like a smart move, but technology acquisitions in general and storage acquisitions in specific never seem to pay off well. OK, never is a bit extreme, but it does seem rare and failure here hurts everyone. It distracts the buying company, often ruins the software from the bought company, and leaves users hanging in the balance.I think the question as to "why is the acquisition occurring?" is a big factor in determining the success. If it is one of mutual survival, as I believe is the case with Brocade's purchase of Foundry, then I think it makes sense. There are many external factors that make this particular transaction make sense; the convergence of IP and Fibre Channel and the need for Brocade to compete with Cisco in more than only storage are just two. While I would not pronounce the deal a success until we see innovative and integrated solutions, clearly their mutual survival against a common competitor is something to start with.

Another "why" of acquisition that often seems successful is the one done for investment purposes. This is an acquisition that was typically made as an investment in a new technology or company. Here you will see the purchasing company keep the purchased company as a separate entity. EMC and VMware are a textbook example of that and an amazing example, so far, of restraint on EMC's part, although the latest CEO change at VMware has me nervous.

When buyers seem to go off-course is when there is a desire to expand market share for the buying company, essentially leveraging its market share or sales force to sell additional related product. During these purchases you'll hear my favorite term, "We are going to develop tight integration between our products." Most often this never happens and if it does it is a common management GUI of some sort. GUI's are nice, but integration to eliminate redundant resources, or meta-data stores and redundant policy application, is what is needed and is very rarely delivered.

The challenge is that software integration is hard work. Its like trying to build a car out of American and Japanese auto parts -- you are better off starting from scratch. That's one of the reasons that new companies keep showing up. They can start from a clean slate; take advantage of the latest software development tools with no real concern about backward compatibility. The market leaders can choose to do this as well. But there is a decision to be made -- take the time to develop the product in-house and guarantee integration, or purchase the product, be to market with it now, and worry about integration later.

In the end, 1+1 does not often make three, which is the goal of an acquisition -- usually it equals 1.5. I think, however, that the Brocade acquisition has some key ingredients to be successful, but only time will really tell the tale.

Track us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/storageswiss.

Subscribe to our RSS feed.

George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
DevOps’ Impact on Application Security
DevOps’ Impact on Application Security
Managing the interdependency between software and infrastructure is a thorny challenge. Often, it’s a “developers are from Mars, systems engineers are from Venus” situation.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0972
Published: 2014-08-01
The kgsl graphics driver for the Linux kernel 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, does not properly prevent write access to IOMMU context registers, which allows local users to select a custom page table, and consequently write ...

CVE-2014-2627
Published: 2014-08-01
Unspecified vulnerability in HP NonStop NetBatch G06.14 through G06.32.01, H06 through H06.28, and J06 through J06.17.01 allows remote authenticated users to gain privileges for NetBatch job execution via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3009
Published: 2014-08-01
The GDS component in IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management - Collaborative Edition 10.0 through 11.0 and InfoSphere Master Data Management Server for Product Information Management 9.0 and 9.1 does not properly handle FRAME elements, which makes it easier for remote authenticated users to conduct ph...

CVE-2014-3302
Published: 2014-08-01
user.php in Cisco WebEx Meetings Server 1.5(.1.131) and earlier does not properly implement the token timer for authenticated encryption, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information via a crafted URL, aka Bug ID CSCuj81708.

CVE-2014-3534
Published: 2014-08-01
arch/s390/kernel/ptrace.c in the Linux kernel before 3.15.8 on the s390 platform does not properly restrict address-space control operations in PTRACE_POKEUSR_AREA requests, which allows local users to obtain read and write access to kernel memory locations, and consequently gain privileges, via a c...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio