F5 Networks To Acquire SDN Startup LineRate Systems

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but F5 said the acquisition will grant it full access to LineRate's engineering team and product portfolio, including its layer seven -- or application level -- networking services. The Seattle-based F5 also said acquiring LineRate will fuel its broader SDN initiative, the cornerstone of which is to bring application intelligence and programmability to software defined data centers.

"F5’s vision is to enable application-layer SDN services for software defined data centers, providing our customers with unprecedented automation, orchestration and control," said Karl Triebes, executive vice president of Product Development and CTO at F5, in a statement. "Extreme scale of applications, infrastructure and services will be vital to SDN, core to F5, and the key to customers realizing the benefits of software defined data centers."

[Related: F5 Networks: Security, Cloud, Partner Enablement All In Focus ]

F5's acquisition of LineRate is the latest in a string of buys made by networking companies looking to bolster their SDN portfolios. VMware last July plunked down $1.2 billion to acquire SDN startup Nicira, while Juniper agreed to snap up Contrail Systems, another startup in the emerging SDN space, in December.

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Networking giant Cisco, meanwhile, disclosed plans in April to sink $100 million into SDN firm Insiemi to fuel its own growth in the programmability and application-aware networking space. Software-defined networking became the networking world's hottest buzzword in 2012, with market researcher IDC projecting the SDN market to reach $2 billion by 2016. Further acquisitions in the SDN space are expected to occur throughout the year, as networking incumbents seek to grow their market footprints.