Whiptail, founded in 2008 and based in Whippany, New Jersey, makes storage systems based on flash memory chips, the same storage tech used in smartphones and thumb drives. Flash storage is growing in popularity because it's faster than traditional disk drive storage systems.
It isn't surprising that Cisco would want to own its own flash storage tech. Cisco makes a popular data center server known as the Unified Compute System (UCS). UCS combines servers with networking, storage and "virtualization" software that allows many operating systems to run on it.
But Cisco has been struggling with its biggest partners for UCS, storage giant EMC and its subsidiary VMware. VMware is trying to eat Cisco's lunch by selling a disruptive new technology called Software Defined Networks (SDN). SDN lets enterprises buy less network equipment use less expensive models, too.
Cisco has been trying to distance itself from VMware and EMC without cratering the success of UCS. For instance, earlier this year, it also invested in VMware competitor Parallels.
Meanwhile, this acquisition has added fire to an already super hot flash storage market.
Look at all these deals in the past few weeks, including two big acquisitions, worth $1.1 billion, this week alone:
- Cisco buys Whiptail for $415 million (Tuesday)
- Western Digital buys Virident Systems for $685 million (Monday)
- Pure Storage lands $150 million Series E funding (August 29)
- Violin Memory files for $173 million IPO (August 26)
- Western Digital buys Velobit for an undisclosed amount (July)
- EMC buys ScaleIO for a reported $200-300 million (June)
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