Dell boosts security portfolio with SonicWall buy


by Steve Evans| 13 March 2012

Adds next-gen firewall and UTM to security offerings

Dell has further padded out its software portfolio by snapping up firewall vendor SonicWall from investment company Thoma Bravo. Financial details were not disclosed.

The move will add next-generation firewalls, unified threat management (UTM) and data protection capabilities to Dell's rapidly expanding security platform. SonicWall will sit alongside SecureWorks and Dell KACE in Dell's security division.

The acquisition represents another addition to Dell's new Software Division, founded in February this year to help the company offer a combination of hardware, software and services to its customers.

This will see it move further away from its PC maker history and towards the software and services spaces occupied primarily by IBM and HP. The new division will be headed up by former CA boss John Swainson.

Talking about the SonicWall acquisition, Swainson said: "We are 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. Our customers see security as a key IT concern for the foreseeable future."

"SonicWALL gives Dell access to unique intellectual property resources and technology that position us well in fast growing parts of the software security business," he added.

The company was previosuly a public company, until it was acquired by an investor group led by Thoma Bravo for $717m. "During our ownership of the company, their implementation of our operational strategies resulted in a significant increase in SonicWalls' value," said Thoma Bravo managing partner Orlando Bravo in a statement.

Francois Lavaste, CEO of NETASQ, said that the acquisitions shows the demand for UTM. "Today's acquisition news reflects the attractiveness of unified network security," he said in a statement.

"The IT infrastructure of companies needs to be efficiently protected. After the acquisition of Secure Computing by McAfee and of McAfee by Intel, and most recently the acquisition of Astaro by Sophos, today's news from SonicWall and Dell is a strong sign that the consolidation of this market has really started and from now we should some acceleration in that respect," he added.

Dell expects the deal to close during the second quarter of its FY2013. SonicWall's 950 employees will join Dell, the company said.

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