Cisco Purchases Whiptail to Enter Data Storage Market

Preface: On Tuesday Cisco announced its first foray into the data storage market, saying it would pay $415 million to acquire privately held storage system maker Whiptail. Cisco’s acquisition highlights the run on solid-state storage companies as data center players aim to speed up applications.whiptail v1

The IoE (Internet of Everything) is delivering profound changes to the world. By 2017 there will be more than 19 billion networked devices globally–bringing a deluge of data on today’s IT environments. Against this backdrop, we are witnessing a move from the Web Economy of the early 2000s to the App Economy of today, and with this transformation, data center architectures are evolving from the Web 2.0 tiered architectures of the past to the Application-Centric Infrastructure of tomorrow. As the importance of the application grows, so does the need for high performance systems to be optimized to support emerging and business critical workloads.

Cisco is evolving UCS to keep pace with the changes brought about by the Internet of Everything and the App Economy. So today, we see that Cisco intents to acquire WHIPTAIL. Based in Whippany, N.J, WHIPTAIL builds the highest performing and most scalable solid-state memory systems available today. Scalable from one node to up to 30 nodes, WHIPTAIL systems can deliver over four million IOPS and 360 Terabytes of raw capacity–a truly staggering amount of solid-state performance capable of providing the workload optimization required in the App Economy.

“We are focused on providing a converged infrastructure including compute, network and high performance solid state that will help address our customers’ requirements for next-generation computing environments,” said Paul Perez, vice president and general manager, Cisco Computing Systems Product Group.  “As we continue to innovate our unified platform, WHIPTAIL will help realize our vision of scalable persistent memory which is integrated into the server, available as a fabric resource and managed as a globally shared pool.”

By making this acquisition, Cisco is enhancing the UCS (Unified Computing System) by bringing solid-state memory acceleration into the compute tier as a managed subsystem.  WHIPTAIL is a perfect architectural fit for UCS because together the two combine a clustered architecture with fabric-based acceleration–all of which is automatable via the UCS Manager and UCS Director. The end result is to deliver optimized performance on top of UCS for emerging and business critical applications, such as virtualized, Big Data, database, High Performance Computing and transcoding workloads.

Since its introduction in 2009, Cisco UCS has grown to become the leading fabric computing system and the number two x86 blade server platform worldwide.  By converging compute onto the fabric through what is widely recognized as a truly innovative server architecture, UCS has been able to capture 73 world record application performance benchmarks and achieve one of the highest growth rates of any product platform in history.  And by bringing solid-state performance into the compute tier, WHIPTAIL speeds a natural evolution of the fabric computing domain and drastically improves performance for customers’ current business-critical application environments.

UCS’s architectural advantages such as built-in automation and high performance fabrics complement WHIPTAIL’s high performance data services. UCS and WHIPTAIL, together with Cisco Nexus data center switches, will accelerate Cisco innovation and momentum in the converged infrastructure.

Upon completion of the acquisition, WHIPTAIL employees will be integrated into the Computing Systems Product Group led by Paul Perez, vice president and general manager. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately $415 million in cash and retention-based incentives in exchange for all shares of WHIPTAIL. The acquisition of WHIPTAIL is expected to be complete in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.

More Notes:

Whiptail has a series of systems—Accela, Invicta and Invicta Infinity—and an operating system called Racerunner.

Whiptail has a series of systems

Also some people pointed out: “How does this acquisition affect Cisco’s joint venture at VCE?”

“I think VCE is going to fall apart,” said the CEO (Who is for a large Cisco and EMC enterprise partner). “Cisco is buying Whiptail and partnering with NetApp. It looks to me like Cisco and EMC are at odds and VCE is going to lose the C (as in Cisco).” He speculated that the Cisco deal could once again raise the spectre of EMC buying a server vendor pushing and Cisco and EMC further apart. “I can’t bet my company on VCE,” said the CEO.

In a statement to CRN, Cisco said the Whiptail deal won’t affect its partnerships with either EMC or NetApp. “This acquisition is really about the server market. It’s a significant opportunity, but distinct from the portion of the market served by traditional stand-alone storage systems. As a result, our continued engagements with NetApp on FlexPod, EMC on VSPEX and VCE on Vblock will not change. We have no current plans to expand into the broad based, traditional storage market.”

—News and Reviews Reference from: zdnet.com, crn.com and blogs.cisco.com

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