Cisco Outlines SDN Plan, Invests $100M In Insieme

by Gaurav Kheterpal on April 23, 2012

It’s busy days for Cisco’s M&A team. After a turbulent year 2011, the networking giant made its first buy this year in the form of Lightwire, a company that develops “advanced optical interconnect technology for high-speed networking applications.

The networking giant then made 2 more strategic acquisitions last month including – NDS (a leading provider of video software and content security solutions) and ClearAccess (a privately held startup that provides tools to telecommunication and broadband providers).

In another aggressive move, Cisco last week invested $100 million in a networking startup called Insieme that was started by three of its ex-employees. The networking giant also has the option to buy Insieme for as much as $750 million more.

SDN (Software Defined Networking) is being labeled as the next game changer technology in the networking world as it aims to make the hardware infrastructure oblivious to actual traffic patterns by enabling software programmability of flows and additional features. That essentially means switches and routers can be remotely maintained and even configured using third-party applications, thereby providing an efficient and cost effective solution while bringing down network maintenance costs.

Insieme – a brainchild of Mario Mazzola, Luca Cafiero and Prem Jain, specializes in research and development in the SDN market. The famed trio has already made two successful spin-ins for Cisco – Andiamo and Nuova. In an internal memo regarding SDN, Cisco stated:

“Insieme’s product development efforts are complementary to that of Cisco’s current and planned internal investments. Insieme and other internal programs will be components of Cisco’s broader programmability framework. These types of investments have strongly benefitted Cisco in the past, and we will continue to look for similar ways to complement our internal development capabilities.”

SDN is currently the talk of the town among companies which operate in cloud computing and big data markets. OpenFlow is currently the most widely adopted protocol in SDN market and it’s backed by the Open Networking Foundation which includes a number of major tech players—such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Verizon as members.

With Insieme, Cisco would be hoping to gain an early mover advantage in the SDN market. While the eventual fate of Insieme remains to be seen, I’m thrilled to see Cisco coming back to its old ways – leaner, focused and aggressive. Perhaps, CEO John Chamber’s vision of “The Next Cisco” is finally beginning to take shape.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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