Cisco and Brocade are approaching convergence of LANs and datacenter networks from opposite directions, and Brocade needs to bulk up for the fight, Schulz said. The confrontation goes all the way into technology itself, with each company backing a different interim technology on the way to FCoE, which is expected to eventually become the industry standard, he said.
"It's very much in the trash-talking, pre-fight runup," Schulz said.
However, the Foundry deal won't affect the timeline for Foundry's delivery of next-generation products, including FCoE products, Brocade said. Those products are independent of what Foundry brings to the table, but the deal expands Brocade's scope, they said.
Brocade brings a higher profile outside the U.S., while Foundry has a strong position in federal government accounts, the companies said. Brocade will continue to sell primarily through OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), while Foundry uses direct sales and channel partners. In at least one case, that could be awkward: Hewlett-Packard is a Brocade OEM and a LAN competitor to Foundry. The executives said discussions have taken place with HP.
As a possible sign of how much it needs Foundry, Brocade's offer of $19.25 per share is a significant premium for the company. Foundry shares on the Nasdaq closed Monday, before the announcement, at $13.66. Late Monday, those shares had risen in after-hours trading to more than $18. Brocade had fallen after hours to $7.09 from $8.33 at market close.