Spirent gets into automation game by acquiring Fanfare

Spirent Communications (LSE: SPT.L) is spicing up its testing capabilities by adding automation to its portfolio after reaching an agreement to purchase Mountain View, Calif.-based Fanfare for $15 million.

Neither company is a stranger to one another, however. Both have been working together since 2008 when they developed a joint partnership to bundle Fanfare's test automation solutions with Spirent TestCenter and other testing products.

After the deal meets customary closing conditions, it is expected to be completed either on or about Feb. 16.

Jeff Schmitz, vice president of Spirent's Networks & Applications group, said the motivation to acquire Fanfare is all about simplifying the testing environment for service providers and its equipment provider customers because they will be able to buy an entire suite of testing and automation products from one source.

"One of the things we have seen with our customer base, everything we're working on is getting more complex, and it's getting more complex in a number of ways in a couple of dimensions," he said. "One is as data centers switches have grown, the scale has gotten gigantic and the breadth of their solutions has gotten bigger over time to support applications, firewalls and WAN optimization functions, and to test all of this has become fairly complicated."

Schmitz added that by enabling its customer base to automate testing functions, customers will be able to "do it over and over again very easily and productively, and I think that's the key value our customers see in a solution like Fanfare and have clearly wanted to buy it through someone like Spirent."

Beyond the boundaries of the deal itself, the marriage of the two companies could also provide strong collective power to create new test automation standards for both network equipment providers and service providers alike. Both Fanfare and Spirent are founding members of the Network Test Automation Forum ("NTAF").

Because the NTAF is an open architecture, the combined company will support automation efforts for NEP and service provider customers that are applying test automation in either a Spirent or a multi-vendor equipment environment.

Prior to entering an agreement with Spirent, Fanfare was able to not only rack up an impressive customer roster of service provider (BT) and NEP customers (Alcatel-Lucent), but also alliances with not only Spirent but other test/measurement vendors including IXIA and Schenick. Going forward, the combined Spirent/Fanfare will continue to support those agreements.  

"The other thing that's made Fanfare successful is being an open platform," Schmitz said. "Fanfare supports a lot of vendors, not just Spirent and work through the NTAF, and we remain dedicated along with Fanfare of collaborating through NTAF building open APIs so we can move the industry forward from an interoperability perspective."

For more:
- see the release

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