Riverbed Technology has announced its intention to acquire OpNet Technologies Inc., a Bethesda, Md.-based application performance monitoring vendor.
The OpNet acquisition -- valued at $1 billion or $43 per share in cash and stock -- will extend Riverbed's monitoring, detection, troubleshooting and optimization abilities across all IT infrastructures, noted David Greene, chief marketing officer of San Francisco-based Riverbed.
"This acquisition is about extending Riverbed's reach deep into the application performance management market," he said.
Network and application performance management have "become more and more intertwined," Greene said. Enterprises need products that can manage both network and application performance management.
OpNet's application performance management (APM) technology will be integrated into Riverbed's Cascade network performance management business unit. The combination will provide customers with visibility into application and network performance, as well as the ability to accelerate performance across physical or virtual infrastructure, the cloud, and software defined and hybrid data centers, according to Riverbed.
While the companies have some overlapping technologies, the acquisition will provide Riverbed with much deeper application management capabilities -- posing a threat to its competitors with application expertise like F5 Networks, said Jonah Kowall, research director of IT operations management at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.
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"Riverbed will be able to not only monitor, but see inside and understand applications at a much more granular level," he said.
With OpNet, Riverbed is the only vendor that addresses application performance issues with WAN optimization, application delivery controllers (ADCs), network performance management and application performance management. OpNet's APM technology will dramatically increase the depth of Cascade, said Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner.
"The new technology will give users greater visibility into the overall operation of the application within the data center and across the network, and the ability to use this information to dynamically adapt and optimize," he said.
OpNet was named a leader in Gartner's 2012 APM Magic Quadrant report, and it and Riverbed had many mutual customers prior to the acquisition, Skorupa noted.
Because customers have already recognized the synergy between the two vendors and even used both technologies concurrently for network performance management and APM, OpNet's technologies will complement the Cascade line well once integrated, Kowall said.
Will the OpNet acquisition prompt more ADC/APM partnerships?
Like Riverbed, other ADC vendors will be turning to APM vendors to fill out their product lines.
"More ADC vendors are going to want to acquire or work with APM companies in order to better optimize the delivery of applications," Kowall said.
Right now, however, Riverbed is the only ADC vendor that has APM capabilities, giving the vendor the edge over its competition.
"The OpNet acquisition puts the ball squarely in the court of vendors like F5 -- I wouldn't be surprised to see if this starts some similar acquisitions in the APM and network performance monitoring space," Kowall said.