Network performance-management vendor Fluke Networks has expanded its product portfolio this week with the acquisition for an undisclosed sum of the intellectual property of VoIP management player Viola Networks. 

The deal brings to Fluke Networks the technologies and source code the now-defunct Viola Networks used to underpin its NetAlly product line.

NetAlly offered such products as its Lifecycle manager, which was designed to determine problem areas in LAN and WAN infrastructure before a VoIP implementation goes live, as well as monitor production environments for VoIP quality and performance. Viola formerly competed with Fluke Networks, as well as with products from Apparent Networks, NetIQ and Brix Networks.

Industry watchers say combining predeployment assessment capabilities, such as those in NetAlly, with production monitoring will improve VoIP performance and reduce costs.

"Nemertes Research has found that companies deploying third-party, VoIP-focused management tools can reduce per-user IP-telephony operating costs by as much as 90 percent," said John Burke, principal research analyst for Nemertes. "The more fully a tool set can address the complete life cycle of VoIP in the enterprise, the greater the role it can play in such deployments."

This buy follows other performance-management purchases in Fluke Networks' recent history. For example, the company picked up Crannog Software in early 2007 and acquired Visual Networks in 2005. The goal, according to the vendor's upper management, has been to provide a complete performance-management product, from preassessment capabilities through monitoring VoIP in production environments.


"Our prior integrations of the NetFlow Tracker and Visual UpTime product lines, the recent release of Visual Performance Manager 4.0 . . . and now the purchase of NetAlly combine to give our Performance Management business the strength in people and product our customers require," said Paul Caragher, Fluke Networks' president, in a statement.

Fluke Networks' latest deal also exhibits the continuing consolidation of the network-management market. For instance, competitor NetScout last year acquired Network General, which had gone through several iterations as a company. Opnet purchased Network Physics, in another deal that whittled down the number of pure-play network management vendors.