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Dell to acquire switch maker Force10

Dell this week said it will acquire switch maker Force10 Networks for an undisclosed sum.

Dell said Force10’s data centre switches will complement its own data centre server and storage portfolio, and enable it to offer customers a broader range of data center and enterprise products.

Dell, citing data from IDC, says it is the leading x86 server provider in the United States and No. 2 worldwide.

Force10 specialises in high-performance, high-density switches for data centres and high-performance computing environments, such as those found in research labs, Web hosting companies and financial trading organisations, the company said. It has annual revenue of just less than $200 million and about 80% of its business is in North America, even though it operates in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Force10’s latest offerings include data centre core and top-of-rack switches designed to handle zettabytes of data with 40/100Gbps Ethernet interfaces.

Dell says Force10’s Open Cloud Networking strategy, which stresses automation and virtualisation based on open standards, is consistent with its own Virtual Era design philosophy. Virtual Era is designed to reduce costs and streamline data center operations through adoption of standards-based system for integrating data center servers, switches and storage, and simplified deployment.

Dell and Force10 have been sales and marketing partners for six years, the comapnies said. Acquiring Force10 is likely to end Dell’s OEM arrangement with Brocade to private label and resell Brocade’s Foundry network switches.

Force10 was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., with research and development operations based in Silicon Valley. Dell also plans to keep Force10’s existing operations in Chennai, India, as it continues to invest in additional engineering and sales capability to grow this business. Dell said it is also committed to maintaining and growing Force10’s channel sales and support program.

The transaction was approved by the board of directors of each company. Additional terms were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in late summer.

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