9. Cisco Moves Into Hyperconverged Systems, Cloud Management With Acquisitions
Cisco, which grew into an industry behemoth through its sales of networking hardware, has been transforming itself into a supplier of software-centric solutions. In 2017 the company took a number of steps in furtherance of that goal, including making some key acquisitions.
Most notable was Cisco's $3.7 billion acquisition of cloud application monitoring and management company AppDynamics in March. It was one of the IT industry's biggest acquisitions in the first half of 2017. But equally important was what the acquisition meant to Cisco in its efforts to transform itself from a networking hardware vendor into a supplier of software-centric solutions.
In August Cisco acquired software-defined WAN specialist Viptela for $610 million in a move to accelerate its Network Intuitive strategy. In September Cisco acquired hyper-converged software developer Springpath for $320 million in an effort to boost its data center strategy, which already included its HyperFlex and Unified Computing System product lines.
Cisco's moves also included an alliance with Google to create a hybrid cloud service, teaming with ConnectWise to create a "managed service in a box" for MSPs to monitor and manage Cisco cloud-based systems, and acquiring machine-learning startup Perspica to enhance the AppDynamics platform.
In October Cisco made a bid for a bigger share of the unified communications market by striking a deal to buy unified communications software developer BroadSoft for $1.9 billion. But the move illustrated the difficulties that come with transformation: Partners were critical of the acquisition because it would effectively make Cisco a competitor to partners who have invested in developing hosted voice practices.