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Cisco Exits Data Storage Market

Around three years ago, Cisco made the news when they announced that they had acquired the solid state array company Whiptail, in a deal that cost $415 million. At the time, some analysts said that this put Cisco further closer to being able to provide the complete technology package to consumers.

Come January 2014, Cisco then launched its all-flash product line called Invicta, as part of its Unified Computing System platform. However, in September of that year it was reported that Cisco had stopped all shipments of Invicta, claiming there were issues with the quality. CRN then reported in March 2015 that Cisco had begun shipments once more, though their enterprise sources said that this was news to them.

In a report by The Register, it was said that the company’s impatience to have the appliance and scalable arrays released quickly had a negative impact. The Invicta line apparently became one of the fastest products integrated by Cisco, which then led to the products having problems in the hands of consumers.

Further problems rose to the surface when it was announced that Whiptail’s former CEO, James Candelaria, who had moved to Cisco as part of the acquisition, left the firm in March due to health complications. His departure took its toll on the firm; Candelaria was regarded as a visionary who had led research and development.

Though he had tried to get Cisco management to take a more creative approach to developing their products in order to compete with other providers, it was reportedly a frivolous battle. A new manager, Satinder Sethi, took over, but The Register report that the team did not get on with him as he was opposed to the original Whiptail acquisition.

In the third quarter of 2015, Cisco halted all production of its Invicta product line and announced that it was ending its tenure in the storage business that it had entered only two years prior.

“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,” wrote the company in an email statement.

Customers who have currently deployed Invicta products will continue to be supported by Cisco, though it’s likely that these users will be looking to deploy alternative arrays when the opportunity arises.

However, this may not mark the end of Cisco’s presence in the storage market. There are rumours that it has eyes on buying hyper convergence vendor Nutanix.

In a statement, Cisco said that it would continue to fund building data centre products via “UCS product innovations, and market-leading flash storage solutions from our partner ecosystem.”

With more than $415 spent by Cisco on the engineering cost of the product line, along with two wasted years of development, Cisco has a lot of work to do if it ever wants to catch up to its competitors - perhaps by acquiring another storage company.

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