Pulse Secure To Acquire Brocade's Virtual Application Delivery Controller Business

Pulse Secure is expanding its secure access portfolio to services and applications, as the company announced on Thursday it plans to acquire Brocade's virtual Application Delivery Controller (vADC) business.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The planned acquisition includes all assets associated with the business, including research and development, customer support, and maintenance contracts.

In a blog post about the announcement, CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna said the acquisition would allow Pulse Secure to continue building on its Secure Access Suite. In particular, it boosts Pulse Secure's access capabilities around hybrid cloud, helping control access to applications on premise, in the cloud, and in cloud service marketplaces, he said.

[Related: Partners Struggling To Close Brocade-Ruckus Sales Amid Restructuring; Channel Chief Pledges To Resolve 'Confusion']

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"At Pulse Secure, we have a core belief that security should be about access and not (just) control. This belief system, combined with innovations that make it real, facilitates the economic delivery of Secure Access to our customers," Ramakrishna said in the blog post.

"There’s always a concern with how well a product will continue to be developed through numerous acquisitions like this as it often causes some of the key talent to leave, but I really like Pulse Secure's management team," said Dominic Grillo, executive vice president at Branchburg, N.J.-based Atrion Communication Resources. "We had definitely liked the vADC solution when it was part of Riverbed, so hopefully Pulse Secure can make something of the technology."

Brocade had acquired the vADC technology as part of its 2015 acquisition of Riverbed Technology's SteepApp product line. As a long-time Pulse Secure partner, supporting the technology through multiple acquisitions, Grillo said the acquisition will likely help Pulse Secure drive revenue from more areas of its portfolio, as well as compete better in the marketplace against companies like Citrix.

"Pulse Secure has a definite need to derive more revenue from products other than their Connect Secure SSL VPN so I think this is a good thing. It will likely help them compete better against Citrix’s NetScaler solution which competes directly with Pulse Secure," Grillo said.

The acquisition is also the latest example of Brocade evolving its business model, including the May 2016 acquisition of Ruckus Wireless for $1.2 billion. However, partners were quickly left confused as Broadcom announced in November that it was acquiring Brocade for $5.9 billion, a deal expected to close later this year. Broadcom said at the time that it was looking to unload the Brocade and Ruckus networking business.

Since then, Brocade agreed to sell its network-edge portfolio, which includes the Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch product families, for $800 million to Arris International. It also agreed to sell its data center networking business to Extreme Networks for $55 million. Both the Extreme and Arris acquisitions are set to take place this year after Broadcom closes its deal to acquire Brocade.

"Pulse Secure is a great fit for our vADC business, and a positive outcome for our employees, customers and partners," Brocade's Senior Vice President and General Manager of Software Networking Kelly Herrell said in a statement. " Our vADC family is highly complementary to Pulse Secure's current portfolio, and is expected to enhance Pulse's capability to deliver a complete end-to-end secure access solution."

Pulse Secure said it "intends to hire certain Brocade employees associated with the vADC business." CEO Ramakrishna said in his blog post that he is "thrilled to have the vADC teams join Pulse Nation" and that the company is "fortunate to have such a great group of people joining Pulse Secure."

Pulse Secure was formed in July 2014 from the spinout of Juniper's mobile security portfolio Junos Pulse to Siris Capital for $250 million. As a standalone company, Pulse Secure offers SSL VPN, unified access control and workspace virtualized containerization of applications on mobile devices. The company added Ramakrisha, a former Citrix executive, as CEO in June 2015 and around the same time launched its first independent partner program.

The acquisition is expected to close between late June and mid-July. It is expected to close prior to Brocade's anticipated acquisition by Broadcom.