In a move to take dominion in the data center, networking giant Cisco has announced plans to purchase privately held NeoPath Networks for an undisclosed amount.
NeoPath develops technology designed to improve the performance and scalability of file storage management solutions. The company's patented SMART virtualization technology and its File Director family of products aim to simplify the management of network attached storage (NAS) and other file servers.
"Enterprise customers are asking Cisco how they can make better use of their existing I.T. infrastructure, and NeoPath is part of the answer," Jayshree Ullal, senior vice president of Cisco's Datacenter Switching and Security Technology Group, said in a statement.
Cisco's answer, in part, is NeoPath's technology. Ullal said the technology will enhance Cisco's Services Oriented Network Architecture direction and vision by establishing tighter linkages between file-based data and network services.
Targeting the Data Center
Cisco's purchase demonstrates an industry trend to beef up virtualization offerings. EMC acquired virtualization technology vendor Rainfinity last August in a deal valued at less than $100 million. Earlier last year in March, Brocade Communications Systems snapped up NuView for $60 million.
"Virtualization is finally moving beyond the world of servers. It won't be long before almost all of I.T. infrastructure is virtualized," predicted Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with the Yankee Group. The ability to serve up data-center components as virtual entities to different applications as needed, he explained, offers greater flexibility and makes the data center the heart of the overall enterprise architecture.
With the NeoPath acquisition, Cisco becomes the only networking vendor that is attempting to address the computing side of I.T., Kerravala said, and that's a key position as computing and networking stacks merge. HP or Juniper could emerge on this front, but Kerravala said he doesn't see any signs of it.
"It appears that the rest of the networking industry is going to let Cisco walk away with this piece," he noted. "HP's ProCurve networking seems separate from the rest of the HP data-center guys and Juniper has some challenges figuring out what it wants to be in the enterprise."
String of Acquisitions
NeoPath was founded in 2002 and has 55 employees based primarily in Santa Clara, California. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2007, ending April 28, 2007. Once the acquisition closes, the NeoPath team and products will be integrated into Cisco's Datacenter Switching and Security Technology Group reporting to Ullal.
Cisco remains active on the acquisition front. The company completed the purchase of select assets of privately held Utah Street Networks and closed the Five Across acquisition last week. Five Across and Utah Street Networks play in the online community space. The software will be integrated into Cisco Media Solutions Group, which is focused on infrastructure products to help digital media content owners improve the consumer experience.
In February, Cisco announced it would acquire privately held Reactivity, an XML gateway provider. And in January, the company completed its acquisition of Tivella, a provider of digital signage software and systems, and also said it would acquire messaging security firm IronPort.