Spirent secures its testing platform with Mu

Contact: Brenon Daly, Eric Hanselman

A relatively infrequent shopper, Spirent Communications has picked up Mu Dynamics, adding security testing for applications to the company’s performance-testing portfolio. The deal, which is only the British company’s second acquisition in the past half-decade, was announced last week and closed Monday. Spirent paid $40m in cash for Mu, which is projected to contribute about $18m in sales next year. (We understand that talks got going only in December, with Duff & Phelps’ Pagemill Partners unit advising Mu.)

The purchase of Mu Dynamics should also help Spirent expand its market, both in terms of customers and products. Traditionally, Spirent has sold its performance analysis offering as a hardware-based platform to network equipment manufacturers that use it to test the performance of products before they launch them. (It primarily competes in this market with Ixia, although Spirent is much larger and more profitable than its rival.) With Mu, Spirent will get a software product that can be more quickly and easily deployed, even within corporate IT departments.

As more and more applications are run on virtualized infrastructure, the process of testing is adapting. Where hardware-based systems have traditionally been used in test environments, it’s much more difficult to connect them to the virtual and ‘cloudy’ application deployments that are predominating. Spirent’s move will give it tools to address these environments. Ixia has also developed product capabilities in this area. Software versions of testing products can also scale well to match the increased scaling demands placed on applications.

Additionally, Spirent obtains Mu Dynamic’s small – but potentially disruptive – cloud-based testing division called Blitz.io, which bumps up against startups such as SOASTA, Apica, AppDynamics, LoadStorm and other SaaS testing providers. Blitz.io already has some 15,000 users.

While both the performance and security of applications is important to increased cloud application adoption, security is turning out to be a far more significant factor. In a survey earlier this year, ChangeWave Research, a service of 451 Research, found that companies gave higher marks to the reliability of cloud apps than they did to the security of them. Further, of the companies that are not currently running cloud applications, one-third of them cited ‘security concerns’ as the reason they have passed so far. That was twice as high as any other concern voiced by the more than 1,500 respondents to our survey.

For more real-time information on tech M&A, follow us on Twitter @MAKnowledgebase.