VMware announces deal to buy Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite

In deal that will provide improved service assurance for carriers as they roll out new services, VMware announced a definitive agreement Thursday afternoon to buy the technology and engineering team of Dell EMC Service Assurance.

Once the deal closes, VMware will move Dell EMC Service Assurance into its Telco NFV portfolio. Financial details of the agreement, as well as the expected closing date, weren't released. Both Dell EMC and VMware are under the umbrella of parent company Dell Technologies.

"VMware is a software company and they're gathering an increased number of assets to help their telecom or communication service provider business. This is one more arrow in the quiver of VMware," said Lee Doyle, principal analyst, Doyle Research. "This gives a service provider one unified touch in terms of software. Service providers don't want to deal with too many parties at a given time if they can help it."

VMware said the addition of the Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite would give communications service providers (CSPs) the ability to maintain operational reliability in their core network, cloud and IT domains across both physical and virtual infrastructures as well as cloud environments.

With CSPs migrating their services from 4G to 5G, service assurance becomes a key element. The Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite provides automated capabilities to CSPs by using root cause analysis management.

"As carriers are readying for 5G, they are increasingly virtualizing edge and core networks with network functions virtualization, or NFV. Service assurance is a critical need for any network. The Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite's established software and services capabilities, combined with VMware's trademark innovation, will empower CSPs to modernize and accelerate the transformation of their networks through NFV upon closing," said VMware's Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president, strategy and corporate development and general, manager of the Telco NFV Group, in a prepared statement. "The Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite team is primed to accelerate our NFV business and help drive it forward with unprecedented service assurance."

VMware, which has deep roots in network functions virtualization, will use the Service Assurance Suite to help customer speed up their virtual network function (VNF) deployments while also providing them with end-to-end service assurance.

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The Service Assurance Suite will also add its engineering expertise and more than 10 years of customer relationship to VMware's Telco NFV portfolio.

VMware said that more than 50 CSPs, including Tier operators, use the Service Assurance capabilities to serve customers across various verticals including enterprises and federal and local governments. VMware declined to provide examples of Dell Service Assurance Suite customers.

VMware said that once the deal closes, it would grow the capabilities of the Service Assurance Suite by focusing on modernization and intelligent automation.

Dell EMC's current customer base will continue to have access to the Service Assurance Suit solutions based on a commercial reseller agreement between VMware and Dell EMC.

"It's all internal to Dell, so its kind of like a reorg," Doyle said. "Dell is strong in terms of hardware platforms with telecoms and they can go to market with VMware on this. In some ways it's not a huge change and it makes sense from an organization standpoint."

The Dell EMC Service Assurance deal is the latest chapter for VMware and Dell Technologies. On July 2, Dell Technologies announced it would buy out the holders of the shares that tracked the performance of VMware by using a mix of cash and equity in Dell. The arrangement was designed to eliminate the tracking stock, pay down debt and give Dell a means to go public again. That arrangement left VMware unaffected, according to a story by CNBC. Dell also considered pursuing a reverse merger with VMware earlier this year.