Riverbed buys Xirrus to reach the network edge

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Riverbed buys Xirrus to reach the network edge

Strategic play at future of networking.

Network management vendor Riverbed Technology will take over wireless provider Xirrus in order to be able to offer solutions spanning the full spectrum of a customer's network.

The acquisition will add an enterprise-grade wi-fi product to Riverbed's SteelConnect SD-WAN offering and extend it to the wireless network edge.

Riverbed chief Jerry M Kennelly said the enterprise network was becoming more difficult for IT departments to manage given the rise of "digital, cloud, and mobile".

"A fundamental rethink to networking is required and with this acquisition, Riverbed and our partners are uniquely positioned to provide CIOs and businesses with a software-defined networking approach that delivers unified connectivity and orchestration across the entire network," he said in a statement.

Riverbed sees being able to offer enterprises the full range of network solutions as a strategic play aimed at what it sees as a move away from configuring boxes and towards "policy, orchestration and automation".

"By combining the advanced wi-fi capabilities of Xirrus and SteelConnect’s intuitive and powerful orchestration, we're taking a bold step to bring the power of policy-based network management out to the wireless edge," Paul O'Farrell, senior vice president of the Riverbed SteelConnect, SteelHead and SteelFusion business unit, said in a statement.

The company did not disclose financial terms of the deal. It is expected to close in April.

Riverbed said Xirrus would continue to be available as a standalone WLAN solution.

Its acquisition of Xirrus is the latest in a string of networking provider takeovers consolidating the sector.

HPE acquired Aruba Networks in 2015 for A$3.5 billion, Fortinet took over Meru Networks in the same year, and Brocade bought Ruckus Wireless last year for A$2 billion only to sell it off in February to Arris.

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