Cisco Acquiring Whiptail for $415 Million

by Sean Michael Kerner

Cisco set to expand UCS server architecture with new solid state memory system vendor acquisition.

Cisco is growing its data center portfolio in a big way with the acquisition of privately-held Whiptail. Cisco is paying approximately $415 million for Whiptail in a deal that is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, which ends next month.

After the deal closes, Whiptail staff will be rolled into Cisco's Computing Systems Product Group, which is run by Paul Perez, vice president and general manager.

Whiptail is a solid state memory systems vendor that has made a name for itself in the storage industrWhiptaily. The acquisition is intended to help extend the capabilities and the options available to Cisco's UCS server customers.

"By making this acquisition, Cisco is enhancing the Unified Computing System (UCS) by bringing solid-state memory acceleration into the compute tier as a managed subsystem," Hilton Romanski, Senior VP of Business Development at Cisco, noted in a blog post.

Whiptail's product lineup includes the Accela storage array which can scale up to 12 TB of flash storage, the Invicta which scales up to 72 TB and the top-end Invicta Infinity that scales all the way up to 360 TB of storage. The Whiptail storage arrays are powered by the company's own Racerunner Operating System. Whiptail also leverage Infiniband for connectivity across its storage array backplane.

"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," Paul Perez, vice president and general manager of Cisco Computing Systems Product Group, said in a statement.  "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."

Brian Marshall, analyst at International Strategy and Investment Group, noted in a research note that with the acquisition of Whiptail, Cisco is now clearly taking a more offensive stance in the storage space. Marshall noted that Cisco will no longer completely rely on existing partners like EMC and NetApp for its enterprise storage solutions.

Aaron Rakers of analyst firm Stifel Nicolaus commented in a research note that Cisco's acquisition of Whiptail represents yet another example of the accelerating momentum in the flash-based storage array market. In recent months, Violin memory filed an IPO, Pure Storage scored $150 million in a funding round and Western Digital is acquiring Virident for $685 million. Stifel expects more activity to come in the flash storage market.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on Tuesday Sep 10th 2013
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