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Cisco
Cisco's Storage Solution: Buy Compass Software

By Jennifer LeClaire
June 21, 2013 10:18AM

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"Compass virtualizes content," said analyst Zeus Kerravala of Cisco's latest acquisition. "So if you have structured and unstructured data, one way to organize it is to centralize it manually or you could use the solution they bought, which creates a layer that's above the storage that makes any content or data accessible from any app. This creates sort of a single, virtual pool."
 


Cisco is buying yet another company on the virtualization front. The networking giant is acquiring privately held Composite Software for $180 million.

Composite works in the data virtualization software and services space, providing tech that connects many types of data from across the network and makes it appear as if it's in one place. Specifically, the software works to integrate traditional and new data sources, including cloud and Big Data, into a simplified, consolidated view. This goal is to help organizations make better, more informed decisions in real time.

"Cisco's strategy is to create a next generation IT model that provides highly differentiated solutions to help solve our customers' most challenging business problems," said Gary Moore, Cisco president and COO. "By combining our network expertise with the performance of Cisco's Unified Computing System and Composite's software, we will provide customers with instant access to data analysis for greater business intelligence."

Building a Unified Platform

According to Cisco, Composite's technology will expand its portfolio of Smart Services and extend its next-generation services platform by connecting data and infrastructure. Through this connection, Cisco promises, companies will be able to better leverage network knowledge and programmability through APIs to maximize the benefits of data virtualization.

As with the transition from physical servers to server virtualization and from physical networks to network virtualization, Cisco said the companies will work together to accelerate the shift from physical data integration to data virtualization for customers and partners.

The acquisition also builds on Cisco's framework for a unified platform and its software services strategy with the recent acquisition of SolveDirect. The company said Composite's data virtualization solution combined with SolveDirect's process integration platform will provide cross-domain data and workflow integration capabilities to enable real-time business insights and operations.

Cisco's Storage Play

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said Cisco's latest acquisition makes sense.

"Compass virtualizes content. So if you have structured and unstructured data, one way to organize it is to centralize it manually or you could use the solution they bought, which creates a layer that's above the storage that makes any content or data accessible from any app," Kerravala told us. "This creates sort of a single, virtual pool."

In some ways, he said, the Compass buy answers a key question: What is Cisco's storage play? Although Cisco has been big in the data center, the company doesn't have a strong hand in storage. Some had speculated that the company might acquire a NetApp or EMC.

"This acquisition shows that Cisco can be in the storage game without having to actually own storage. This solution provides storage access to customers but doesn't actually cause them to own the storage itself," Kerravala said. "It's a better way to get into it because you could argue that with the cloud coming into the storage market, it could present some challenges."
 

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