Cisco's move into the storage industry via a series of strategic relationships with storage vendors stems in part from the 2009 introduction of its Cisco UCS server platform. That led to Cisco's early 2010 decision to break its long-term reseller partnership with Hewlett-Packard, which at the time was the largest reseller of Cisco networking gear.
Cisco at that time had a zero-percent share of the server market, which was dominated by such systems vendors as HP, Dell, IBM and others. But for its server business to succeed, it needed a back door into the data centers of enterprises, which are typically loath to change server vendors, especially for an upstart.
Storage was the answer.