What Does SonicWall Bring to the Party?

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-03-13 Print this article Print


For a billion bucks and change, what will San Jose, Calif.-based SonicWall bring to Dell that it previously lacked? And does this pretty much do it for Dell and its data center networking security, or are there still some holes to fill?

"There are always holes to fill," Forrester Research Principal Analyst of Security and Risk Management John Kindervag told eWEEK. "This gives them a very powerful set of products and services to compete with Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and HP in the enterprise switching and services business.

"Prior to this they bought Force 10 (switching), Perot Systems (consulting) and SecureWorks (Managed Security Services). With the acquisition of SonicWall, they have a very fast gateway product that has both firewall and IPS features, which places it squarely in the Next Generation Firewall Market (NGFW). These types of multifunction gateways are foundational to future-state secure network design."

Kindervag said SonicWall always made a good product but it had an image problem.

"It was perceived as a midmarket solution that didn't resonate well with enterprise-sized organizations," Kindervag said. "Dell has the marketing savvy and sales force to make SonicWall an enticing choice for a new level of buyers.

"It also provides new competition for current NGFW leaders such as Palo Alto Networks and Check Point Software€”which can only be a good thing, as increased competition should drive innovation."

Will Quest Software Be the Next Acquisition Target?

Jefferies & Co. had an interesting take on the deal and, in fact, dropped a clue as to who might be Dell's next acquisition target.

J&C on the strategic impact of the SonicWall deal: "We believe Dell will be able to leverage its distribution and customer relationships to sell more SonicWall product. We think this adds more tools to Dell's cloud stack but that a more unified offering is unlikely before CY13."

J&C on the implications of the deal regarding Quest Software: "While the size and timing of the SonicWall deal reduces the odds that Dell will make a bid for QSFT, we note that SonicWall's products do not overlap with Quest's. We think Dell is likely taking a look at QSFT during the current 60-day shopping period and that the company would fit well with Dell strategically."

Hmmm. Quest Software, eh? Sixty-day shopping period? Neither company can talk, of course. Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Quest makes a lot of popular tools (TOAD, Foglight, NetVault and QuickConnect are the best-known) that Dell could use in its quest (pun intended) to help its customers move to private and hybrid cloud deployments.

There's more where all this came from. Keep tuning in.

Chris Preimesberger is eWEEK's Editor of Features and Analysis. Twitter: editingwhiz.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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