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ICYMI: NetScout-Danaher deal to wed security, DPI

NetScout plans to incorporate security in monitoring; Barracuda upgrades ADCs; and Riverbed improves SteelHead.

With the acquisition of Danaher Corp.'s communications business now complete, NetScout Systems Inc. said it will roll out new services to strengthen its core network monitoring and management business. In a $2.3 billion transaction that closed July 14, NetScout, based in Westford, Mass., picked up Danaher's Tektronix Communications, Arbor Networks Inc. and parts of Fluke Networks. "This acquisition gives us breadth, as well as depth" in terms of analytics and network and carrier visibility, said Mike Serrano, NetScout's senior product marketing manager. Arbor's stable of security products -- the vendor is best known for its distributed denial of service mitigation technology -- will provide NetScout users with a layer of network security that's interwoven with their monitoring tools. "It really expands our portfolio," he said. "We started out as a packet flow intelligence company and understanding the interaction of devices based on packet flow data. We are leveraging that and we'll be able to see security-type issues arise based on the nature of the packets back and forth."

Tektronix, which makes network test, measurement and monitoring products, and Fluke, a network monitoring vendor in its own right, will provide NetScout with additional versatility, Serrano said. "We're working on the roadmaps right now" regarding how the products will be integrated, he said, adding that NetScout's Adaptive Session Intelligence technology will remain a core component.

Because the NetScout-Danaher transaction didn't include all of the divisions now operated by Tektronix and Fluke, the products made by the portions of those companies NetScout did acquire will be renamed, while Arbor's security apps will retain their brand. Serrano said NetScout expects to release details about the new products this fall.

"The plan is whether you are a [Tektronix] or a NetScout customer, you'll be able to leverage [application monitoring] on the other side that [either NetScout or Tektronix] didn't provide. Those apps will become part of the apps available to you. From the NetScout perspective, you'll get the strength of Tektronix' session-trace capabilities. We'll add on the Arbor security piece. For Tektronix customers, you'll get NetScout's wireless capabilities, so this should be very synergistic."

Barracuda boosts performance of ADCs

Barracuda Networks Inc., based in Campbell, Calif., boosted the performance of its Load Balancer application delivery controller (ADC) line, doubling port capacity across three models and adding Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) acceleration to its top-of-the-line 840 device.

The vendor said it's adding the new capabilities without raising prices, as Barracuda targets enterprises evaluating the use of hardware-based load balancers.

In addition to increasing port capacity, Barracuda boosted throughput. The model 340 now supports up to 1.2 Gbps; the model 440 has 2 Gbps of throughput and the model 540 4 Gbps.

The number of Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports now range from four ports on the 340 and 440 to eight ports on the 540. The new capacity will let the lower-priced models support such features as redundant link aggregation.

The 840, now with eight 1 GbE ports, has a throughput of 10 Gbps and hardware-based SSL. Pricing ranges from $1,999 for the model 340 to $19,999 for the top-end model. All of the models are currently commercially available.

Riverbed upgrades SteelHead WAN optimization

Riverbed Technology Inc. announced several incremental upgrades in the latest software release, version 9.1, of its core SteelHead WAN optimization platform. SteelHead appliances running the newest version will natively support a transparent HTTP proxy for large Web-object caching. It's a move aimed at enterprises that are adopting a hybrid WAN architecture, but are concerned with how the performance of Web-based video traffic will fare.

"This is really the first single-ended optimization solution within SteelHead. SteelHead has always been a dual-ended, peer-to-peer type of optimization," said Josh Dobies, a senior director of product marketing at San Francisco-based Riverbed. "This is great for those direct-to-Net use cases, say, in a branch office where they want to start leveraging Internet connectivity."

Riverbed also expanded the list of software as a service (SaaS) applications that can be optimized by its subscription-based SteelHead SaaS offering. The service now supports Box, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SAP SuccessFactors and ServiceNow; previous releases only optimized Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce.com. Riverbed also plans to introduce universal licensing for SteelHead SaaS in early August. A monthly fee of $1.99 per user grants access to optimization services for all cloud applications supported by SteelHead SaaS.

Finally, the new software supports EtherChannel in link aggregation; features improved visibility and optimizes Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) over HTTP traffic. Riverbed also said it's launched a trial to support the use of hardware security modules.

Dell refreshes SonicWALL wireless firewall

Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, has upgraded its SonicWALL TZ wireless firewall line to 802.11ac, which provides faster connections for mobile devices on Wi-Fi networks.

The TZ series, a combination firewall and access point (AP) for small and medium-sized businesses, provides deep-packet inspection (DPI) and antivirus software. The latest refresh, introduced this week, can filter and inspect more traffic without affecting network performance, according to Dell.

"You can get intrusion prevention up to a gigabit line rate and with antivirus up to a half gigabit before there's an impact on network performance," said Dmitriy Ayrapetov, director of product management for Dell Network Security.

Dell is one of many AP vendors upgrading product lines to 802.11ac. Wave 1 of the latest Wi-Fi standard has a maximum theoretical throughput of 1.3 Gbps. The second iteration of the standard, Wave 2, has a theoretical maximum of 6.9 Gbps. Vendors that have refreshed APs to support the standard include Cisco Systems Inc., Aruba Networks, which is owned by Hewlett-Packard and Ruckus Wireless Inc.

The TZ series can be added to a network that also contains Dell's SonicPoint access points. Both devices can be managed through the SonicPoint management console, which is used to set security policies and to monitor, deploy and configure APs.

The management capabilities are particularly useful to companies that are using the Dell devices on wireless networks serving branch offices, said Ayrapetov.

The SonicWALL TZ300, TZ400 and TZ500 are available for purchase through Dell or resellers. A small and home office model is scheduled to be released in August. Pricing ranges from $300 to $1,500, depending on the feature set.

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Do you think the NetScout-Danaher deal will benefit your organization?
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Wow, I hadn't realized Danaher had picked up all those companies. There's a lot of good technology in there. When will we find out exactly which parts NetScout picked up and which parts will be spun out?
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On the Arbor portion, it's the entire company. NetScout picked up Tektronix' network testing but not its osciliscope, etc. business. The Fluke portion includes the network packet broker component. 
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Thanks. Always loved Fluke's company name, but they didn't like my idea for a slogan: "If it works, it's a Fluke!"
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