Cisco Closes Acquisition Of Springpath As Data Center Innovation Continues At 'Breaking Speed'

Networking giant Cisco has completed its acquisition of hyper-converged software developer Springpath in a move to boost Cisco's data center strategy including HyperFlex and its Unified Computing System (UCS) product lines.

"Cisco is innovating at breaking speed in the data center," said Kent MacDonald, vice president of business development at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based and top Cisco partner. "This year they've really focused on updating and refreshing a lot of their data center portfolio to make it simpler and more easy to consume for customers. … Springpath will be an important ingredient to their strategy there."

Cisco spent $320 million to buy the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based startup, which developed a distributed file system purpose-built for hyperconvergence that enables server-based storage systems.

[Related: Cisco Launches 'Powerful' Meraki-Like Data Center Platfrom For UCS, HyperFlex]

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"Springpath is strategic to our data center portfolio as we transition to delivering software-centric solutions to our customers," said Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing Systems Product Group, in a blog post. "As one team, I am excited for the synergistic possibilities ahead to redefine hyperconvergence further and deliver seamless multi-cloud experiences for our customers. This acquisition will further fuel the incredible momentum we have seen in the adoption and deployment of this solution over the last several quarters."

HyperFlex currently has more than 1,800 customers across the globe, while UCS has more than 60,000, according to Cisco.

In 2017, the San Jose, Calif.-based network leader has doubled down on product launches, refreshes and enhancements in the data center.

In March, Cisco completely revamped its hyper-converged system with the launch of HyperFlex Systems 2.5 with new features and capabilities. In August, the vendor unwrapped the next generation of its flagship server line with the new UCS M5 line that includes blade and rack servers.

Just last week the company said it was bringing its Meraki cloud-based management strategy to the data center with Cisco Intersight, an automation and management platform for UCS and HyperFlex.

Long View's MacDonald said he was excited to see Cisco's data center vision coming together around automation, scalability and simplicity. "We're seeing [that] one of the motivating conversations with customers is, 'I want to take cost out of my IT, and I want to reduce complexity.' That is where we're seeing HyperFlex becoming a contender," he said.

Cisco launched HyperFlex in March 2016 thanks to a strategic partnership with Springpath, which was founded by former VMware storage engineers.

Although Cisco's data center sales dropped 4 percent to $837 million year-over-year during its fourth fiscal quarter, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said the company saw "solid traction" in HyperFlex bookings.

Springpath's software helps enterprises turn standard servers into a single pool of compute and storage resources. Its software platform eliminates the need for dedicated network storage and integrates with existing management tools. The company's early claim to fame was helping enterprises avoid vendor lock-in when it comes to network infrastructure.

The Springpath team will join Cisco's Computing Systems Product Group.