The much anticipated intent from Cisco to acquire storage assets became the real deal today. Cisco announced it will complete the transaction for approximately $415 million in cash and retention-based incentives. Cisco’s investment in storage technology should not come as a surprise to anyone as it makes perfect sense given two trends:
- The IT server, network, and storage infrastructure is collapsing into a single system designed as a turnkey building block coupled with management tools that gather intelligence, report out to the IT operator, and simplify the management and maintenance of IT infrastructure. Couple this with the added business benefit of improved time to value and you have a series of compelling reasons to change the way IT infrastructure is consumed and managed.
- Virtualize everything. Server virtualization has paved the way for vendors to take the same benefits realized with server virtualization and build upon its success in the network and storage arena. Look at VMware’s and Microsoft’s storage strategy. They both move the storage intelligence to the server tier and cast the net out to multiple tiers of storage. Now Cisco will have local server disk capacity, server side memory caching capabilities, and a solid-state tier with Whiptail.
ESG has been keeping close tabs on the ICP (integrated computing platform) market and has had a keen focus on vendors that team up with Cisco in anticipation that they would make a storage investment. You can see more details in the recently published ESG Market Landscape report, Integrated Computing Platforms. VCE and NetApp have the closest coexistence with their respective vBlocks and Flexpod solutions. The Whiptail acquisition isn’t going to replace these types of solutions in the short term, but long term software-led storage virtualization from the likes of VMware with VSAN and Microsoft with Storage Spaces certainly will prove to be interesting to consider.
Cisco is making a smart move here and has a lot to gain assuming they can align with infrastructure decision makers and ideally include a bridge to the cloud as part of its strategy.