Cisco Preps For Release Of Long-Delayed Invicta Storage Blades

CRN has learned that Cisco Systems is planning to release its long-expected storage blades based on its Invicta storage technology.

One close channel partner of Cisco said the Invicta-based storage blades are in beta testing, while several partners told CRN they are expected to be formally introduced in the next 90 days. That time frame corresponds with the Cisco Live conference slated to be held from June 7 to 11 in San Diego.

A Cisco spokesperson told CRN via email that Cisco does not comment on unannounced products.

[Related: Cisco Quietly Resumes Shipping UCS Invicta All-Flash Array That Spent Six Months On Hold]

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The expected release of the Cisco Invicta storage blades comes shortly after Cisco quietly resumed shipment of its Cisco Invicta all-flash array after a six-month hold caused by issues with the Invicta technology Cisco received with its 2013 acquisition of Whiptail, then a startup developer of all-flash storage arrays.

The release has been expected for about a half-year. Cisco, in a September FAQ for channel partners published quietly in response to previous CRN stories about Invicta technology issues, mentioned development of an Invicta storage blade. A copy of that FAQ was provided to CRN at the time.

The acquisition of Whiptail and the release of its Invicta storage line raised concern among solution providers and other Cisco watchers that Cisco would use the Whiptail technology to release all-flash storage array solutions that would compete with those of key Cisco storage technology partners such as EMC and NetApp.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, however, has maintained that the Invicta technology will be used only for accelerating applications running on Cisco UCS servers, and not for devices used to store data.

One solution provider told CRN under condition of anonymity that a Cisco presentation about the Invicta storage blades was offered to partners this month and showed the blades being mixed and matched with Cisco UCS servers within Cisco's 5108 blade chassis.

The new Cisco Invicta storage blades are scheduled to ship shortly after Cisco removed the bugs from its Invicta technology, the solution provider said.

"Cisco had two problems with Invicta," the solution provider said. "The first was the use of white-label hardware that didn't meet Cisco quality standards. The second was software that did not meet Cisco requirements. But Cisco has stabilized the code base, and moved everything to Cisco hardware."

Cisco wants to offer Invicta as an ACA, or Application-Centric Accelerator, and is not using the word "storage," the solution provider said. "Cisco is trying to choose its words carefully. It doesn't want to impact its EMC and NetApp relationships."

KEVIN MCLAUGHLIN contributed to this story.