Network acceleration vendor Riverbed is aiming to get into the network visibility game, thanks to its purchase of Mazu Networks.
While Riverbed (NASDAQ: RVBD) has been focused on network acceleration, Mazu’s technology provides additional visibility into application traffic over the network. The $25 million cash acquisition, which also entails up to a $22 million payout if Mazu hits certain sales targets, is Riverbed’s first, and the company expects the purchase to close at the end of first quarter.
The deal also follows a similar move by competitor Blue Coat, who acquired network visibility vendor Packeteer last year. It all points to a converging trend toward greater network acceleration intelligence to better optimize enterprise applications.
“The acquisition of Mazu adds important capabilities our customers have been asking for,” Jerry M. Kennelly, Riverbed’s president and CEO, said during a conference call discussing the acquisition. “Our enterprise customers have been telling us they need better visibility and reporting as they seek to deploy transparent and robust infrastructure for managing their application performance.”
Kennelly added that Riverbed decided to buy Mazu rather than build its own technology to move into the field more quickly. Kennelly denied, however, that Riverbed had been losing deals to competitors because it lacked network visibility technology.
Still, the technology is seen as important to Riverbed’s overall mission. Mazu works by analyzing the interaction of users, systems and network devices that comprise an application delivery infrastructure, according to Eric Wolford, Riverbed’s senior vice president of marketing and business development.
Mazu’s flagship product, Profiler, uses this analysis to determine typical traffic patterns. It then can look for deviations that could signal performance issues, and for underutilized resources that can be reallocated, Wolford said during the call.
Wolford added that Mazu has also developed a means of determining a baseline level of performance and anomaly-based defect detection. According to Wolford, the baseline feature offers carriers and enterprises a good way to figure out service-level agreements and objectives.
Riverbed also will not have to wait until Mazu’s product can be fully tied into Riverbed’s to start profiting from the acquisition, it said.
“We are not dependent on any massive amount of integration to begin to recognize benefits,” Wolford said. “There are upside opportunities for us to do some integrations, but that’s not a major dependency.”
Riverbed is set to officially announce its fourth-quarter fiscal 2008 financial results on Feb. 3. On Tuesday, the company announced preliminary results with revenues of approximately $91 million to $92 million, representing a 20 percent gain from a year ago.