It was reported recently that Cisco had acquired scalable solid state memory provider Whiptail in a deal worth around $415m.
The deal was positioned as a move to strengthen Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) strategy.
More importantly, this acquisition marks Cisco’s first move into the storage market.
The deal means Cisco has a storage infrastructure of its own for the first time. Traditionally, the networking giant has relied on deep-rooted relationships with EMC and VMWare as reliable storage partners.
Naturally, IT commentators feel this move puts a question mark over these existing relationships. Actually, I see this move a little less cynically. Cisco is looking to complete its connectivity and communications offering by owning some of its own relevant infrastructure. Deliberately undermining its existing partnerships doesn’t make business sense.
Cisco’s statement suggests that the desire to own its own SSD storage increases the control it has over delivering Unified Computing Systems and unified communications. It will also mean Cisco can provide better support to UC applications and, more long term, new forms of applications emerging from trends such as virtualisation and big data.
Therefore, this acquisition tells us that rather than shunning strategic partner relationships, Cisco recognises the key benefits of actually owning your own infrastructure in terms of control and flexibility.
When it comes to colocation and cloud storage, customers are increasingly looking for more specific and customised solutions. So, providers are forced to be offer a far more flexible approach, working with the customer to find the right solution for the, rather than selling a pre-packaged product.
In order to offer that all-important flexibility, you need to own and control your own infrastructure. Not only can you do as you wish with it, but you will have the appropriate skills and expertise in-house to develop and support the solutions you provide.