Dell is expanding its enterprise portfolio, with Tuesday's announcement that it has signed an agreement to buy IT network security company SonicWall. SonicWall's next-generation firewalls and unified threat management firewalls, Dell said, complement the computer company's security solutions.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
'Fast-Growing Parts' of Security Business
John Swainson, president of the Dell Software Group, said in a statement that his company is "building a strategic software portfolio to address the needs of our customers with key assets in the fast-growing and highly profitable IT security solutions business." He added that the acquisition gives Dell "access to unique intellectual property resources and technology," in order to position his company in the "fast-growing parts of the software security business."
Dell has been expanding its storage and networking capacity with such acquisitions as EqualLogic and Force10 Networks, and now is looking to shore up its security offerings. Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT, said that this acquisition "complements nicely" with the previous deals.
SonicWall is an established security company that has focused on mid-range firewall and products utilizing unified threat management, with a focus on small- to medium-size businesses. Its SuperMassive firewall line has made inroads into the enterprise firewall market, and positioned it in the race for next-generation firewalls.
SonicWall president and CEO Matt Medeiros said in a statement that the deal "aligns well with Dell's mid-market design focus and allows us to accelerate growth of our flagship SuperMassive Next-Generation Firewall solutions" with large enterprise customers.
'Dovetails Nicely' with Dell
Medeiros also noted that SonicWall is known as a "leading security solutions provider for small and medium businesses" through its UTM solutions," which matches a key market focus for Dell.
Pund-IT's King said the SonicWall deal "emanated from the Dell Software Group," which had been formed in January, and it presents a good example of "software taking a lead in creating product differentiation." He added that SonicWall's focus on SMBs "dovetails nicely" with Dell's.
Rumors had circulated in recent months that Dell was looking for one or more security company acquisitions. Fortinet and WatchGuard Technologies had been discussed as possible targets.
Dell's current security offerings include its SecureWorks security services, cloud security and data encryption solutions, and its KACE vulnerability and patch management. SonicWall has more than 130 registered and pending patents for its products, which include secure remote access, e-mail security, backup and recovery, management, and reporting, in addition to firewalls.
SonicWall's 300,000-plus customers use its Global Management System to centrally manage security appliances through a widely distributed network. The company said that its next-generation firewall is designed for environments that need scalability, high availability, and high performance , for both traditional and wireless networks.
In 2010, SonicWall went private in a $717 million deal that sold it to private equity firm Thoma Bravo.