Fluke Networks Acquires Agilent's NetMetrix

In an effort to beef up its diagnostics tools, Fluke Corp. last week bought Agilent Technologies Inc.'s NetMetrix for an undisclosed amount of cash. With the acquisition, Fluke will be able to integrate its line of handheld network analyzers with NetMetrix products and technology, including Remote Monitoring and RMON II capabilities not currently in Fluke products.

Fluke Networks, a subsidiary of Danaher and spinoff of Fluke, provides a number of handheld network testing, diagnostic and installation tools. These handheld devices let network technicians plug in and view the network from any location, or the devices can be left connected at certain locations to collect data on the network, which can then be accessed via a Web browser. However, existing products from Fluke only let customers see up to Layer 3. NetMetrix RMON probes will let Fluke products drill further down into the network and see into the application layer to pinpoint network problems.

Fluke Networks President Chris Odell says his company's products and those of Agilent's NetMetrix division are about 95% complementary, meaning customers can expect to see a lot of product integration. For Fluke Networks customers, that means their existing Network SuperVision products, such as LANMeter and OneTouch, will be enhanced with NetMetrix's RMON probes to provide users with reporting and analysis capabilities. Odell says Fluke will offer integrated products early next year.

Fluke Networks is looking to advance its line of testing and diagnostic tools with NetMetrix's known technology and development, says Paul Bugala, a research analyst with IDC in Framingham, Mass. Most of Fluke Networks' products "acted in a fixed role," whereas coupled with NetMetrix's probes, the company will have the opportunity to offer customers a more proactive network management strategy that combines monitoring, alerting and diagnosis, Bugala says.

"Coupling the two product lines will give the end user a rich base of information that can be represented meaningfully in the [network operation center]," Bugala says. He goes on to say that since the company was spun off from Hewlett-Packard, Agilent has been in the process of refining its business units. Earlier this year, Agilent sold its Pinnacle division.

Anita Manwani, general manager of Agilent NetMetrix, says Agilent wanted to sell NetMetrix because the company wanted to move forward with its communications, manufacturing and research and development efforts.

"NetMetrix will give Fluke customers a broader set of products that go beyond troubleshooting and diagnostics to distributed computing and management technologies," Manwani says. "It was important for us to choose a company that would carry our installed base of customers forward in network technology."

The deal will give Agilent an undisclosed amount of cash and Fluke Networks stock. Under the terms of the agreement, Fluke Networks will acquire the NetMetrix division including its managers, 100 employees, key technologies, intellectual property and products by the end of this month. Fluke is excited to get the engineers and sales staff that made NetMetrix successful, Odell says.

Fluke Networks: www.fluke.com

NetMetrix: http://www.agilent.com/cm/product/netmetrix/nmx_main.shtml

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