McData said on Tuesday the company plans to acquire Computer Network Technology.
McData, Broomfield, Colo., is one of the leading providers of Fibre Channel switches and directors, including a new backbone director introduced on Tuesday that drives data at up to 10 Gbits per second over dark fiber for distances of up to 190 km.
Minneapolis-based CNT develops appliances for moving data and connecting SANs over long distances, mainly for disaster recovery purposes. CNT also has a professional services business thanks to its acquisition of Articulent, a Hopkinton, Mass.-based solution provider, in 2001.
McData values the all-stock transaction at about $235 million in equity and debt. The deal is expected to close by July.
Scott Berman, vice president of finance at McData, said both companies have about 20 years of experience in the data center infrastructure space, and their products and market strategies complement each other.
McData sells it products primarily through the direct and indirect sales channels of system vendors including IBM, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Sun and Hitachi Data Systems, Berman said. CNT has a similar arrangement with many of the same partners.
Brook Reams, director of strategic technologies and platforms for McData's Business Development Division, said that CNT's products, along with McData's new Intrepid i10K backbone director, both fit his company's global enterprise data center initiative aimed at delivering tiered network infrastructure that provides access to information at anywhere at any time.
CNT in particular not only brings to McData its wide-area SAN products, but also professional design and installation services. "It addresses growing customer demand to extend data center consolidation across wider areas," he said.
As such, Berman said there is a possibility for channel conflict as McData now has a services organization that also resells products from EMC and Hitachi Data Systems.
However, he said those conflicts should not be a concern. "Our major partners -- HP, EMC, IBM, HDS, etc. -- are always looking for new ways to drive sales," he said. "We now offer a wider range of products and services, and are looking to drive opportunities for ourselves and our partners."
Carl Wolfston, director of Headlands Associates, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based solution provider that currently buys McData switches via HP, said that rather than worrying about potential channel conflicts, he welcomes the acquisition.
"HP will make sure it all works together," Wolfston said. "And if HP sells the CNT product, they will make sure it is supported, and that will make it easier for me to sell."