Cisco Dives Into Container Space With Plans To Acquire Startup ContainerX

Cisco Systems is diving into the container market with plans to acquire ContainerX, which one partner says will help customers achieve their "cloud dream."

"This is certainly a new area for Cisco, but they're trying to get in during the early days versus waiting for the market to be mature," said Kent MacDonald, vice president of converged infrastructure and network services at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner. "They're getting in while the market is still young, which will allow Cisco to add their innovation [and] should bode well for channel partners."

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

[Related: Cisco's New CTO Explains His Technology Road Map And Why Partners Should Focus On Containers]

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Privately held San Jose, Calif.-based ContainerX will be the networking giant's first acquisition in the container space. The startup, founded less than two years ago, focuses on building enterprise-grade technology to help manage, orchestrate and integrate containers across data centers, according to Rob Salvagno, vice president of corporate business development and head of Cisco's M&A team, in a blog post.

"The ContainerX and Cisco teams will work together to continue to develop a comprehensive cloud-native stack for our customers," said Salvagno in the blog post. "Cisco is uniquely positioned to integrate the next- generation data center with cloud-native and containerized environments that customers are demanding, all while still delivering advanced features such as security, analytics and management."

Salvagno said the acquisition supports Cisco's broader strategy to build and deliver secure hybrid cloud infrastructure, platforms and services as well as fills the need for enterprises experimenting with container technology adoption.

Earlier this year, Cisco CTO Zorawar Biri Singh told CRN that the networking giant's future in the data center involves containers.

"Containers are much more efficient and simpler and cheaper to use," said Singh. "There's enough companies innovating on containers and enough open source out there where the modern view is, 'We're no longer going to develop on VMs. We're just going to develop on containers.'"

Long View Systems is starting to have conversations with customers about transitioning to containers, said MacDonald.

"They're looking at when containers will be applicable to their cloud dream, so this [acquisition] will help with that," he said. "It's still the early days for this market, but it gives partners like us the validation that Cisco remains and will remain relevant."

ContainerX touts its "all-in-one" platform as a turnkey container infrastructure offering that can be centrally managed. The company also provides APIs for enterprises wanting to integrate the platform's capabilities into their custom management portals.

Some of ContainerX's executives hail from VMware, Microsoft and Citrix Systems. The team at ContainerX will join Cisco's Cloud Platform & Services Group led by Vice President Kip Compton.

ContainerX CEO Kiran Kamity, who founded RingCube Technologies, which was purchased by Citrix in 2011, said he co-founded ContainerX in early 2015 with a team of only eight people who designed and launched its infrastructure product.

"The power of Cisco's cloud and ContainerX's expertise has the potential to offer a turnkey cutting-edge private and hybrid cloud to customers," said Kamity in a website post to its employees. "With Cisco, we will continue to develop a comprehensive cloud-native stack for our customers."

Cisco's last acquisition came in June with the purchase of its fourth security vendor in the past 12 months, that of CloudLock for $293 million,