Brocade, Ruckus partners worry sell-off plan will "spook" customers

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Brocade, Ruckus partners worry sell-off plan will "spook" customers

Semiconductor maker Broadcom's acquisition of networking vendor Brocade has divided the opinions of some of the networking vendor's Australian partners, particularly those that came from Brocade's recent acquisition of Ruckus.

The Brocade-Ruckus deal aimed to create a global leader in storage-area networking, wi-fi, data centre networking and enterprise wireless – now all of that appears to have changed with Broadcom's reported plans to sell the Brocade's networking business including Ruckus.

Mona Taimana, co-founder and director of Brisbane-based Ruckus partner Serenity IT Solutions, said the acquisition "should have been handled in a much better way". 

"The obvious attacks from other vendors will ensue with fear and doubt tactics being leveraged to the max during pre-sales. As it stands the situation will likely taint any new opportunities."

Taimana told CRN that customers hadn't raised any concerns yet. "However, there have been so many M&A's recently that I don't think anyone can keep up," he said.

Carl Jefferys, global sales director of major wirelesss integrator GX2 Technology, had been surprised by the news. "Like everyone I’ve spoken to, I was somewhat surprised at this news – I’d heard the rumours earlier in the week but certainly didn’t expect an announcement so quickly and it appears that most of the 'Brockus' people were similarly ambushed," he said.   

However, BigAir chief technology officer for cloud and managed services Scott Atkinson said there wasn't much to be worried about.

"There are seriously a few excited partners in the US from the Ruckus side... At the end of the day it is what it is, you just have to get on with it. I am not sure if they are just not used to M&A activity. The wheel keeps turning," Atkinson said.

Future of Brocade and Ruckus

Atkinson told CRN he did not believe anything would change and that there was no change from the previous acquisition that affected BigAir's business. "We tend to use a lot of Ruckus in our wireless service business offerings and the product is still being supplied," he said.

Atkinson said as long as they could still supply a product that worked, that was all that mattered for the network provider.

For Serenity IT's Taimana the main concern was what to do next. "The next step will make or break what we will do as a partner with Brocade-Ruckus. The last thing that we need is indecision and lack of communication and transparency."

Being optimistic was also an option, Taimana told CRN. "If the right steps are taken, who knows what exciting directions are to be taken in the future. Maybe a security vendor looking to expand their network prowess... either way there is still compelling technology in Brocade-Ruckus' IP offerings. The reason why we partnered with them – this hasn't changed. There are also still great people that we work with in Ruckus and now Brocade and this is important to us."

GX2's Jefferys worries the business focus may change. "Ruckus was a company that was run by people with a focus on pure wi-fi and they did it really well. The Brocade acquisition was a positive thing because it added the switching portfolio that they needed to keep 'Gartnerphiles' happy," he said.

"However, it’s a shame that with the Broadcom announcement there is definitely a risk of complete loss of that focus. I think HPE-Aruba and [Cisco] Meraki will use this uncertainty to their advantage.

"I can imagine that some clients will be spooked by this – particularly those making high-value decisions about wi-fi and switching. Then again, it depends on who buys them. We’ll have to wait and see."

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