The pace of tech acquisitions is not slowing and one area worth watching is the testing market where Ixia has recently picked up Catapult Communications to further its wireless IP performance testing strategy – especially as the company positions itself to be a leader in the LTE space. In a meeting in Ixia headquarters in southern California the company explained to me that they continue to focus on a broad range of testing areas such as Ethernet, 40/100 Gb Ethernet, devices, fiber channel, storage area networks and virtualization. And don’t forget about some of the other areas the company plays in such as voice, video and data.
During SuperComm the company announced a new acquisition of certain assets of the Agilent Technologies N2X Data Network Testing Product Line and Kelly Malloit the company’s director of PR explains the move to TMC’s Erik Linask in more detail in the video below.
One area discussed by Kelly is the fact that this acquisition allows Agilent’s customers to purchase a suite of complimentary testing equipment and moreover, through this move – Ixia becomes a far more international company and furthermore has a much larger focus on the carrier space. Also, Ixia Fusion allows customers to use open APIs to access Agilent and Ixia testing solutions. This by the way is pretty similar to how Oracle is integrating many of the companies it acquires – they also call their middleware Fusion.
Much of this sentiment was echoed by Atul Bhatnagar, President and CEO who spoke with me by phone recently and said, “When opportunity knocks, you respond.” He further went on to say that the best time to change is when business is slow as you can do things you cannot when the business is running at a faster clip.
With these moves, the company is really focusing on becoming a leader in the converged IP performance testing space – in both wired and wireless markets by providing end-to-end tools which span the internet core to the wireless edge.
Regarding the specific reasons for this recent acquisition, Atul explained that every company much choose its focus areas and moreover there is a massive R&D expense associated with being on the bleeding edge which is required to provide testing tools, systems, protocols and capabilities long before networking companies even develop these capabilities.
Bhatnagar says his company felt honored to be picked as a potential acquirer by Agilent as they didn’t want service for their customers to suffer and as such they wanted a strong partner to purchase the assets.
He further went on to explain how IP, Ethernet and LTE are strong pillars for the company which for you and me translates into areas of market growth. Remember that testing company strategies can be used as a strong barometer for where things are going. Based upon their relationship with carriers and equipment companies, test vendors become somewhat clairvoyant.
For Ixia, the Agilent acquisition move makes sense as it allows the company to broaden its scope and global reach with one acquisition and the Catapult deal is logical as wireless will be a hot market for years to come. I plan on watching the test vendors more closely for other signs which may foreshadow future trends.