Kemp Picks Flowmon for Security and Analytics


By: Mary Jander

Kemp Technologies, which specializes in virtual application load balancing, has purchased Czech startup Flowmon Networks in a move that highlights the growing linkage among application-layer management, security, and network analytics. Terms were undisclosed.

Kemp, founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York City and Limerick, Ireland, with offices worldwide, has over 250 employees and is a portfolio company of private equity firm Mill Point Capital. Kemp claims over 25,000 customers for its application delivery controllers (ADCs). These solutions comprise both hardware and cloud-based software options (AWS and Azure versions are available) that perform load balancing for TCP-based networks, along with caching, compression, health monitoring, and encryption acceleration.

Flowmon, founded in 2007 and headquartered in Brno, Czech Republic, is headed by CEO and cofounder Jiří Tobola and has roughly 200 employees. It claims more than 1,200 customers worldwide, including a range of large Eastern European firms. It also has a sizable presence in Japan, where it claims to be second only to Cisco (CSCO) in enterprise data centers.

Flowmon specializes in network and security operations (NetSecOps), involving packet investigation, analysis and visualization of network data, and a range of security functions, including finding and mitigating distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks as well as detecting unknown threats. Flowmon products work with network telemetry data, which enables the solutions to isolate and fix trouble even where data is encrypted.

Using APIs for Integration

Kemp’s goal in buying Flowmon is to augment its existing application management solutions with Flowmon’s network and security wares. The bottom line is making application delivery faster, more secure, and better protected against threats from inside or outside the network — whether that means on premises or in public, private, hybrid, or multi-cloud environments.

“[This acquisition] gives us a platform across network and application, and if you think further, a platform that links with other partners, other partnership approaches, so that there’s a single viewpoint that customers can get,” said Kemp CEO Ray Downes, in a prepared video.

Downes said Kemp will begin by linking its products to Flowmon’s via application programming interfaces (APIs), but continue an aggressive R&D plan for deeper consolidation — and for creation of new products. This strategy calls for collaboration among Kemp’s research facilities in Limerick, Flowmon’s in Brno, and those Kemp acquired in New Delhi, India, when Kemp bought India’s Lithop Technologies back in February 2020.

Synergies in Data Center Virtualization

Kemp’s solutions, both its current ones and those it plans to launch with Flowmon, compete with a range of suppliers who in one way or another are also unifying application performance with security and network analytics. This includes ADC players such as Citrix (CTXS), F5 Networks (FFIV), AWS, and Microsoft Azure, to name just a few.

Most of these vendors have been moving in this direction for awhile. Citrix, for instance, has declared its strategy to bring security and networking, as well as virtualization, more closely into its application management technology, which includes its product named Application Delivery Controller (formerly Netscaler). And F5 Networks spent $1 billion for Shape Security, aiming to add that vendor’s fraud detection technology to its application management roster.

It’s likely the list of vendors pursuing the same path as Kemp will continue to expand, making for some interesting permutations. Vendors in the remote-access market, for instance, are seeking tighter security and analytics. Players also may have a toe in the SASE and secure edge markets, or aim for solutions involving intent-based networking (IBN), in which analytics are gathered to identify trouble spots and improve performance.

As CEO Downes noted, partnerships in this new world are crucial to success -- even if the ecosystem includes competitors. Flowmon, for example, has a technology partnership with F5, which competes with Kemp. As the market plays out, it’s bound to produce some surprising “co-opetition” and more M&A. There are interesting times ahead.