Analysis: Cisco's Whiptail Buy Less About EMC, NetApp And More About HP, Dell


Keith Norbie, director of server, virtualization and storage for the Eastern U.S. at Technology Integration Group (TIG), a San Diego-based solution provider and partner to EMC, NetApp and Cisco, said that Cisco has finally crossed the wide chasm between it and storage, there will be no impact on other storage vendors for the short term.

"Nobody on any side of this game will do anything in the short term," Norbie said. "They won't want to screw up anything. These companies have reference designs and a lot of customers. This is just a revenue-expansion opportunity for Cisco."

Cisco has had plenty of opportunities and the financial capabilities to acquire a company like NetApp for years but didn't, Norbie said.

He also said he doesn't expect EMC to react to Cisco's acquisition of Whiptail, and said the only time EMC has ever reacted to another vendor's move was when EMC snatched Data Domain away from NetApp after a prolonged bidding war.

"Cisco's acquisition of Whiptail will be great for Cisco, and great for companies looking for more from Cisco," he said.

That seems to be the consensus of storage vendors that closely partner with Cisco.

Todd Pavone, executive vice president of product development and strategy at VCE, a joint venture of EMC, Cisco and VMware, called Cisco's Whiptail plans good news for his company.

"Cisco is doing a technology buy," Pavone said. "They're buying technology to add to the fabric of UCS. We like it when our parents acquire new technology. And, Cisco has made it clear that they don't want to offer stand-alone flash storage."

Before officially announcing the Whiptail acquisition, Cisco made it clear that it is focused on its UCS strategy, Pavone said. And, he said, that in turn means improvements to VCE's Vblock converged infrastructure offerings, although the improvements will not come in time for next week's planned new Vblock solutions.

"Cisco will incorporate Whiptail technology into UCS," he said. "We will incorporate it in our Vblock to increase performance similar to what we will do with EMC's new VNX2 arrays."

An EMC spokesperson told CRN that Cisco has been "crystal clear" regarding the company's intent toward Whiptail.

"Whiptail will serve as a server-resident memory, not an enterprise storage system that would compete with their storage ecosystem," the spokesperson said. "Cisco is entering a part of the market where EMC partners on the hardware side, and adds value in software. This will enable us to further extend our partnership with Cisco around VCE and VSPEX collaboration initiatives."

NEXT: NetApp, EMC Say All's Well, But Is It?