Cisco moves into data storage market with Whiptail acquisition

Networking giant Cisco is set to move into the data storage market with a $415 million (£264 million) acquisition of Whiptail, a firm that specialises in solid state memory systems.

Whiptail's technology utilises flash memory rather than hard disk drives in large scale storage systems. This allows more data to be held and processed at a faster, more efficient speed whilst being much smaller in physical size.

Cisco will integrate Whiptail's data acceleration capability into its Unified Computer System (USC) servers so that they can deliver the same performance faster and by taking up a fraction of the data centre floor space.

This will further boost the efficiency of the firm's X86 blade server, which Cisco says has already captured 73 world record application performance benchmarks.

"We are focused on providing a converged infrastructure including compute, network and high performance solid state that will help address our customers' requirements for next-generation computing environments," said Cisco VP Paul Perez.

"As we continue to innovate our unified platform, Whiptail will help realise our vision of scalable persistent memory which is integrated into the server, available as a fabric resource and managed as a globally shared pool."

Cisco's head of business development, Hilton Romanski added: "By making this acquisition, Cisco is enhancing the UCS by bringing solid-state memory acceleration into the compute tier as a managed subsystem.

"Whiptail is a perfect architectural fit for UCS because together the two combine a clustered architecture with fabric-based acceleration – all of which is automatable via the UCS Manager and UCS Director."

Upon completion of the purchase, Whiptail employees will join Cisco's Computing Systems Product Group led by Perez. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.