The name of Network General reappeared on Friday, effectively reversing the 1997 merger of the then Network General Corp with McAfee Associates when they formed Network Associates Inc.
Private investment companies Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group closed their $275m cash acquisition of the Sniffer Technologies arm of NAI, which renamed itself McAfee Inc earlier this month. Network General Corp reopened for business on Friday.
At the time of its 1997 merger Network General had a revenue run rate of around $250m, but there was always some disparity between the success of it and the fast growing anti-virus house of McAfee.
In last three years before the merger, McAfee’s revenues had been growing at 135%. Network General had managed a more meager 28%. But today, Network General believes it can take an early position in a relatively new, growing and under-served market. Its plan is to expand into the network-based applications performance management segment with its Appera product line.
We see Appera as a beachhead for us in the market, said Nancy Blair, VP product management and marketing of the product, which is intended to provide network managers with a complete view of applications as they flow across a network.
She suggested that Network General’s addressable market was worth around $2.1bn, and that a significant portion is up for grabs. The new company will have a renewed focus on network management, Blair said. We intend to have a staff of 600 by the end of this year and they will all have the same single focus.
While its Sniffer product has long been the benchmark for other monitoring and analyzer products, the company has a range of network monitoring, fault and performance management and analysis tools.
Network General competes mainly against small-name companies selling Sniffer rivals, such as Wild Packets Inc which targets mid-size companies, and Niksun’s NetVCR. It also meets network performance company NetScout Systems Inc and its nGenius Express Appliance, which has been reworked of late to meet the increasing demand for performance management of Linux and Windows-based networks.
Application monitoring and performance management is a segment that is starting to generate significant interest. The extent to which it has been overlooked was confirmed by a recent analyst survey, which showed that 67% of 430 senior IT executives from large US and European companies did not know that end users had a problem with the performance of their applications until a help desk call was made.
And according to other analyst research, networking issues along with other issues such as misconfigured applications are seen as the root-cause of most application performance problems.
The ultimate aim for Network General, is to see one of its monitoring systems deployed alongside each and every application build-out. The vendor said it would also be strengthening the Sniffer Distributed monitoring and management product line, will get behind the Sniffer Portable fault identification device, and target its Netasyst product line at the small and mid-size business market.
The company claims to have over 6,000 active customers including 96 of the Fortune 100 and says it has sold 250,000+ Sniffer probes to date.