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Wheelings & DEalings: Brocade Nets vEPC Supplier Connectem

By Paula Bernier March 02, 2015

In yet another move to help keep it at the epicenter of the industry-shaking move to network functions virtualization and software-defined networking, Brocade today announced plans to buy virtual evolved packet core business Connectem. The value of the all-cash deal, which is expected to close in Brocade's second quarter of fiscal 2015, was not disclosed.

The purchase of privately-held Connectem is yet more ammunition for Brocade (an early strategic investor in Connectem) in the battle to win new business as the carriers transform themselves into more agile and software-centric service providers.

Connectem in recent months has been active in working with major carriers on NFV trials. As noted in the April cover story of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, a TMC publication, the startup was one of the earliest and fastest movers in NFV, and it had by that time already completed trials with tier 1 carriers in all major geographies. Connectem as of last April also had already established a subsidiary in India, created partnerships with distributors iCent of South Korea and Macnica of Japan, filed NFV patents, and collaborated with a handful of leading vendors.

Swift movement on NFV and SDN, particularly when it comes to their use in LTE, is important, as these cellular networks will be among the first use cases of these new software-focused technologies.

Indeed, AT&T’s John Donovan blogged earlier today about how his company is working to virtualize its mobile packet core.

“Traditionally, each mobile network function ran on its own dedicated hardware,” Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T Technology and Operations, wrote. “Now, we’re moving to a common platform running on off-the-shelf hardware, where unique functions happen in software. We can add capacity and capability much faster while reducing complexity and cost.”

The acquisition of Connectem is just the latest for Brocade, which also has expanded its SDN and VPN strategy via the purchases of Vyatta, Vistapointe, and the SteelApp virtual ADC product line from Riverbed. It snapped up Vyatta more than two years ago, one of the early acquisitions in this new space. The Vistapointe deal, which brought Brocade new visibility and analytics solutions for mobile network operators, was announced in September. And Brocade announced plans to buy the SteelApp virtual application delivery controller business of Riverbed Technology just last month.

Brocade has also captured headlines in recent months as it lured an array of engineers from competitors to join its ranks.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Executive Editor, TMC

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