Juniper Buying SDN Young Gun Contrail In $176m Deal

Contrail isn’t a year old, but it is to be bought by one of the biggest networking players in town

Troubled networking vendor Juniper Networks is hoping it can keep up in the software-defined networking space by buying out start-up Contrail Systems in a deal reportedly worth $176 million.

Juniper has hardly made a fuss of the agreement, posting a short blog post that offered little detail on the announcement.

Contrail was only founded earlier this year, and hasn’t made any services generally available. CEO Ankur Singla had worked at Juniper, before he moved on to be CTO at Aruba Networks.

Juniper buying into SDN

“We anticipate closing before the end of the year.  With this acquisition, Juniper gains SDN technology that augments our portfolio of products and services,” the Juniper blog read. “As a strategic investor earlier this year, we recognized the inherent advantages of Contrail Systems’ architectural approach and we are excited to take this next step to acquire and combine Contrail Systems into our team.”

The company told TechWeekEurope earlier this week it had been in the SDN space for some time, but did not hint at any imminent acquisition. SDN is going to be the next big thing, overtaking cloud as the most hyped part of IT, said Gerard Allison, vice president for Juniper’s enterprise division in EMEA.

Juniper has posted some weak results recently, hit by poor demand and increased competition from Cisco, which has reasserted itself as the dominant force in the industry after suffering a lull in 2011.

Now that virtualised networks are the future of the industry, as the hardware side becomes less of a growth area, a host of companies are battling it out to get hold of the most valuable IP on offer.

Cisco recently splashed $125 million on SDN player Cloupia, having already snapped up vCider earlier in the year. Rival Brocade announced the acquisition of Vyatta last month, whilst VMware paid a whopping $1.26 billion for start-up Nicira.

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Originally published on eWeek.