Instead, I think a company like Cisco should step forward and close a deal. Aside from the fact that Cisco has the financial means to make this happen, it would certainly produce some good returns considering Brocade has more than doubled its free-cash-flow position over the past five years.
A deal like this would not only help strengthen Cisco's enterprise and cloud position. It would also be a good defensive play to keep Brocade out of the hands of other possible buyers, such as EMC, Hewlett-Packard and even Dell.
Furthermore, Brocade continues to be underestimated when it comes to its technical approach to the cloud. The company has taken a slightly different approach toward organization and deployment. It understands that networks must be cloud-optimized at every critical point because companies will weigh application performance and, even more importantly, the end-user experience.
Though it lacks the history of both Cisco and Hewlett-Packard, Brocade does have a strong tradition in both data and storage networking. From that standpoint, the company could even be attractive to a buyer like Oracle (ORCL), though that is a long shot.