Stratus Buys VOIP Infrastructure Company

The $10 million purchase of Emergent Network Solutions adds to Stratus'stable of communications convergence offerings.

Stratus Technologies is adding to its growing telecommunication capabilities with the $10 million purchase of Emergent Network Solutions.

Although the deal closed in August, Stratus is waiting until Sept. 12 at the Fall VON show in Boston to announce the deal.

Stratus counts telecom as one of the key verticals it targets, one in which the Maynard, Mass., company has played for more than 15 years. It currently offers a range of fixed mobile convergence technologies, and will now add VOIP (voice over IP) infrastructure software to its lineup with the acquisition of Emergent, said Ali Kafel, vice president of Stratus telecom business.

Emergent will enable Stratus to leverage key areas of its telecommunications business with the addition of not only VOIP, but also video and data in the future.

"We went on an acquisition search," Kafel said. "Wondered, what company should we acquire to really get us where we want to go?"

/zimages/3/28571.gifStratus greatly expands the support for standard Linux on its fault-tolerant servers. Click here to read more.

Two years ago, Stratus began to bring together the various technologies needed to enable disparate telecom networks—hardwired telephones, wireless mobile and cellular phones, and VOIP—to interoperate. The initiative, dubbed Converged Personalized Services, is being brought together through Stratus own technologies, partnerships and acquisitions, such as the Emergent purchase.

Nathan Franzmeier, Emergents former CEO and now vice president of emerging network solutions for Stratus, said that in more than four years, his company had gained more than 100 customers and had 115 installations.

Emergent sold its VOIP products to wireline service providers, and also could assemble the products into what Franzmeier called a VOIP "solution in a box"—essentially all the tools a business would need to replace traditional phone systems with VOIP communications.

Merging with Stratus gave Emergent a way to grow, while giving Stratus expanded offerings, he said.

Stratus is eyeing the IP Multimedia Subsystem, or IMS—a relatively new standardized network architecture—as a key growth driver, particularly as carriers move to adopt it, Franzmeier said. The Emergent deal is another step in that direction.

"Were looking at IMS as the going-forward solution," he said.

The company not only will have a good software offering, but also a strong hardware architecture.

Stratus got back into the telecommunications game three years ago. In 1998, Stratus Computer was bought by Ascend Communications, which then spun off the enterprise computing business to form Stratus Technologies. Over five years, the telecom business bounced around, at times being owned by Lucent Technologies and Platinum Equity Partners, which named it Cemprus.

In February 2003, Stratus bought Cemprus and initiated plans to build the telecom capabilities into its fault-tolerant server platform. Since then, Stratus has continued to grow the business, to the point where it now accounts for about $58 million in annual revenues, about 22 percent of the companys overall revenues, Kafel said. More than 70 percent of the largest telecom carriers use Stratus products, according to the company.

Stratus recently has announced several new products, such as the Mobile Cell Convergence technology in June. The convergence-enabling product serves as a translator between different network types, allowing for greater interoperability.

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