A new brocade

Khalid Khalil, regional sales manager, CEMA at Brocade reveals to NME the company’s plans following its recent Foundry Networks acquisition.

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By  Sathya Mithra Ashok Published  September 21, 2008

Khalid Khalil, regional sales manager, CEMA at Brocade reveals to NME the company's plans following its recent Foundry Networks acquisition.

What were Brocade's reasons for acquiring Foundry? And how exactly did you narrow your acquisition choices down to Foundry Networks?

There are a couple of different viewpoints. There is the market perspective, the customer perspective, technology perspective, a competitive perspective and a company perspective. On the market side, we believe that the industry at the moment is at an inflection point in the way corporate and service provider networks and datacentres are being designed.

Gaining talent in some markets, with expertise in enterprise service provider networking technologies, was a key factor in the acquisition.

So a holistic networking strategy and offering services is a foundation for satisfying customer needs. We are very much a customer driven organisation and so everything we do in R&D is based on listening to our customers and our partners.

And our customers are asking for more choices in vendors, and for more integrated and complete solutions that address the needs of today and also the ones in the future. And that is a key factor and a key reason behind this deal.

On the technology side, it is even more exciting because this deal brings together Brocade, the undisputed leader in storage networking and Foundry, also an innovator in high performance networking, and together we will be in a much better position to capitalise on emerging technology trends, such as network convergence, datacentre consolidation and so on.

What is very important is to understand that this deal is all about growth and accelerating innovation. It is not about cost synergies - it is two innovative, healthy companies combining to provide even broader and integrated solutions.

From the competition side, Brocade will now be one of only two networking industry vendors who can offer a comprehensive portfolio that addresses basically both sides of the server and both sides of the firewall and, in addition, (also something that is to our advantage) we also have solutions for inside the server, whether it is blade servers or stand-alone servers with networking cards. That is a pretty broad portfolio.

From a vision, cultural perspective this is a good combination because both companies share a passion for innovation as well as a commitment to developing and delivering customer driven solutions. We are complementary in virtually every single aspect and will increase the combined company's critical mass, technology talents and skills to be even more relevant to its customers and to its partners.

We did due diligence and carefully studied all available opportunities before agreeing on Foundry. This took place over several months. We cannot comment on other targets specifically. However, we strongly believe that Foundry was the best fit based on several factors like the shared organisational culture, which is very important in an acquisition.

The sets of complementary products, technology and skills at the top rung of expertise, and also the overall health of the businesses of the company (because Foundry was, like Brocade, a very healthy company) counted as factors favouring the deal. What is also interesting, is that analysts have welcomed the deal.

In a nutshell, we believe that in selecting Foundry, we picked the best of the potential targets available in the space.

What will happen to Foundry Networks' products going forward?

As you are aware, we have just announced the intention of the acquisition; shareholder approval and regulatory approval is still outstanding and until then we also need to operate as separate companies. I do, however, want to give clear statements to that question.

Our plan is to keep Foundry's products and technologies and to ensure that they have a very strong roadmap as there is basically no overlap in our product portfolios. That is a very important issue. We believe this aquistion is about growth, not about cost synergies or consolidation of product portfolios and so on.

Our plan is to use the Foundry products and technologies for growth opportunities and synergies as the market converges, to serve the needs of the customers and partners, even better than before.

We are also committed to continuity, to supply support and services to Foundry's existing customers as we have demonstrated through the McData acquisition, which we executed in January 2007.

What is also important to note is that we will operate as one company under the one brand, although we do expect to retain the existing Foundry Networks' product names.

What are your plans for integrating the solutions from Brocade and Foundry?

From a long term perspective, we will listen closely to our customers in what kind of integration they need between the companies. This will be combined with the type of integration between the different technologies and networks that they require to serve their needs.

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