Cisco Pushes Back Plans To Resume Shipment of Invicta Scale-Out Version

The scale-out version of Cisco's UCS Invicta flash storage product, which stopped shipping last month because of technical glitches, won't resume shipping until Cisco's fiscal second quarter, the networking giant confirmed to CRN Friday.

The two Invicta products Cisco halted shipments of in September were the UCS Invicta Scaling System, designed for large organizations, and the standalone UCS Invicta flash storage appliance, which is for midsize and smaller customers.

At the time, Cisco said it would resume shipments of the UCS Invicta Scaling System in October, but now Cisco says that won't happen until sometime in its second quarter, which starts in November and ends in January.

"The UCS Invicta Scaling System is scheduled to be released from ship hold within Q2 FY15," a Cisco spokesperson said in an email to CRN.

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[Related: Cisco Partners Not Surprised By Invicta Shipment Halt]

The spokesperson declined to give a reason for the delay, but partners take it as a sign that Cisco has yet to solve the scalability issues that some customers were having with that product.

Cisco has resumed shipments of the UCS Invicta appliance, but partners told CRN the UCS Invicta Scaling System is more important to enterprise customers.

Cisco decided to halt UCS Invicta shipments out of ’an abundance of caution,’ the vendor said in an FAQ sent to partners last month.

’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.

UCS Invicta, which Cisco launched in January, uses technology from its $415 million acquisition of flash storage vendor Whiptail last September. Cisco said integrating the Whiptail technology into its UCS converged infrastructure system would boost the performance of UCS and help it better support compute-intensive applications, such as those used for big data analytics and the emerging Internet of Things.

Solution providers told CRN they weren't entirely surprised to hear UCS Invicta shipments had come to halt, given the glitches they had experienced first-hand when selling or implementing the product. Some of these glitches, they said, include single points of failure and issues with manageability.

Some partners, meanwhile, said they were waiting for Cisco to drive further integration between the legacy Whiptail technology and its UCS offering before taking Invicta to market.

Cisco's Invicta troubles could fuel speculation that the San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant is eyeing another big acquisition in the storage market. Partners this week said Cisco reducing its ownership stake in VCE -- and, as a result, loosening its ties with storage stalwart EMC -- could open the door for such a move.

"My position is that Cisco is going to start playing stronger in storage, whether they do it with the Whiptail acquisition or go out and acquire a company like NetApp or a smaller storage company like Nimble," said Bill Smeltzer, CTO of Focus Technology Solutions, a Seabrook, N.H.-based Cisco Gold partner. "It would be fairly easy for Cisco to go out and get a storage company."

Another Cisco partner, who asked not to be named, encouraged Cisco to bring more storage capabilities into its fold, especially to maintain the growth it's seen with UCS.

"With Cisco saying Invicta is just server-side cache and that they never bought that to compete against EMC and NetApp -- to me, Cisco needs a storage company to continue to grow UCS at the rate that it's growing," the partner said.