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Cisco Confirms Closing Of Invicta Storage Business

Cisco Friday confirmed an earlier CRN report that it is closing its Invicta storage business, a business troubled by product delays and cancellations since Cisco acquired it in 2013.

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Cisco has confirmed that it is closing its Invicta storage business.

The move to end development of Cisco's Invicta Appliance and its Scaling Systems products was previously reported Thursday by CRN, based on information from ex-Cisco employees.

A Cisco spokesperson on Friday morning confirmed the CRN report via email, noting the closure of the business and a continuing commitment to working with "market-leading flash storage solutions" from its storage vendor partners.

[Related: Cisco Is Laying Off Nearly Everyone At Its Invicta Storage Business, Sources Say]

Cisco partners with nearly every major and second-tier storage vendor is developing converged infrastructure solutions, with Hewlett-Packard and Dell being the major exceptions.

The Cisco spokesperson told CRN via the email that Cisco works to develop solutions and services that exceed customers’ expectations, but will withdraw technologies from the market when necessary to focus on more critical technologies.

"Cisco is prioritizing the elements of our portfolio to drive the most value for our customers both now and in the future, and today, we are announcing the End of Life (EoL) for the Invicta Appliance and Scaling System products. We will continue to support existing customers who have deployed Invicta products in accordance with our Products and Services End of Life Policy, which includes ongoing technical assistance, software support and spare/replacement parts," the spokesperson wrote.

At the same time, Cisco emphasized the importance of its existing storage partnerships with its Cisco UCS server technology.

"UCS delivers on customers' compute and network needs, and we will continue to invest in building world-class data center solutions via UCS product innovations, and market-leading flash storage solutions from our Partner ecosystem," the spokesperson wrote.

That commitment is important given that Cisco and one of its primary storage partners, EMC, have seen their partnership enter rough waters.

For EMC, the fact that Cisco in 2013 acquired Whiptail, the forerunner of its Invicta storage technology, led to concerns that Cisco would compete with the VSPEX converged infrastructure and the VCE Vblock solutions jointly developed by the two.


Indeed, EMC late last year bought nearly all of Cisco's stake in VCE, and this year made VCE part of the EMC Federation.

After the acquisition of Whiptail, the storage technology, which Cisco renamed with the Invicta moniker, was in some cases made available as stand-alone storage. But in September of 2014, Cisco quietly halted shipments of its Invicta storage line due to what Cisco characterized as "quality issues in deployments."

Cisco in March was prepared to start shipments of its long-delayed Invicta storage blade, and did restart shipments of the Cisco Invicta Scaling System all-flash array. However, Cisco solution providers contacted by CRN said they have not seen the products in the market.

John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and long-term Cisco channel partner, told CRN he was not surprised that Cisco would finally close the Invicta storage line.

"It's like the Kenny Rogers song," Woodall said. "'You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.' Cisco doesn't need to fix Invicta when there are so many alternatives."

The big question now is, what's next, Woodall said.

"Does Cisco at this point buy another storage product?" he said. "Or does it partner more deeply with a company like NetApp with its all-flash FAS and new architecture? Cisco might find it better to invest in partnerships."

Cisco also partners with hyper-converged infrastructure software developer SimpliVity, whose software could easily fit well with the Cisco UCS Mini solution, Woodall said. Or it could work with NetApp to further develop the storage vendor's EVO:Rail hyper-converged infrastructure solution, he said.

Also, Woodall said, just because Cisco pulled the plug on the Invicta storage offerings doesn't necessarily mean the company will give up on the old Whiptail flash storage technology. "There's nothing stopping Cisco from using the Whiptail flash technology with UCS as part of a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance," he said.

In the end, Cisco's foray into the flash storage solution business never really took off, Woodall said. "Cisco has a lot of storage partners with designs validated by Cisco," he said. "The only design not validated by Cisco was Cisco's storage."

PUBLISHED JULY 24, 2015

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