Cisco Teases New UCS Invicta Storage Blade, Says It's Not Exiting Storage Market

Cisco Systems still has big plans for its UCS Invicta storage lineup, which uses technology from last year’s $415 million acquisition of flash array vendor Whiptail, despite technical issues that recently caused it to temporarily halt shipments.

Cisco plans to launch a UCS Invicta storage blade and build deep integration between UCS Invicta and its UCS Manager product, Cisco said in a FAQ sent to partners this week, which CRN viewed Friday.

"Over the next several quarters, Cisco intends to demonstrate our commitment to innovate with deeper integration of UCS Invicta into the overall UCS hardware and software solution,’ Cisco said in the FAQ.

[Related: Cisco Halts Shipments Of UCS Invicta Storage Appliance Due To Scalability Issues]

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A Cisco spokesperson told CRN the company doesn’t comment "on speculation about potential or future roadmap products."

As first reported by CRN Tuesday, Cisco has temporarily stopped shipping its UCS Invicta products after some customers experienced problems with deployments. The FAQ is Cisco's response to the issues raised in that report.

Cisco has halted shipments of both UCS Invicta products it currently sells: a standalone UCS Invicta flash storage appliance and the UCS Invicta Scaling System, a version designed for large organizations, according to the FAQ.

"At this point, Cisco has decided to hold shipment on both the appliance and scaling system solution -- both on the latest UCS platform as well as the legacy Whiptail platform," Cisco said in the FAQ.

Sources told CRN earlier this week some Cisco customers have had trouble with the UCS Invicta Scaling System and have returned the product.

Cisco said in the FAQ it expects to resume shipments of the UCS Invicta storage appliance this month, while the UCS Invicta scaling system will resume shipping next month.

Cisco also said it doesn’t anticipate having to replace customers’ UCS Invicta hardware as a result of the issues.

Despite the technical problems, Cisco said in the FAQ that it's committed to building UCS Invicta into a $1 billion-plus business.

But while Cisco is portraying the UCS Invicta issues as a minor bump in the road, several partners told CRN they think the vendor will have a tough time selling the products in the future.

’I never felt Whiptail was an enterprise-ready product, and I think they bought the wrong company. They are now paying the price,’ one Cisco partner told CRN, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Cisco has repeatedly insisted it’s only using Invicta to accelerate performance of apps running on UCS, and not as standalone storage, but some partners don’t believe it’ll be able to grow the business with such a narrow use case.

In the meantime, all UCS Invicta products remain on Cisco's global price list and the vendor will continue selling them through a "dedicated team of field specialists," Cisco said in the document.

Partners can still place UCS Invicta orders, and Cisco said it will continue shipping UCS Invicta products on a "case-by-case basis," according to the FAQ.

Cisco decided to halt UCS Invicta shipments out of ’an abundance of caution,’ it said in the FAQ.

’Though some may feel that Cisco’s approach is overly conservative, we believe this is the best approach to meet the expectations of our customers, partners and employees,’ Cisco said in the FAQ.