Cisco has announced plans to acquire AppDynamics just a day before the latter’s intended IPO. Cisco will acquire AppDynamics for $3.7 billion in cash and equity in a deal that signals its interest in transitioning from a hardware and networking company to a software company with investments in cloud technologies. AppDynamics, which specializes in application performance monitoring, competes with the likes of New Relic and Datadog. Given that AppDynamics was valued at $1.9 billion, its acquisition for $3.7 billion underscores its perceived market value for Cisco as the networking hardware giant transforms its business model to recognize the criticality of application and infrastructure monitoring, management and optimization to contemporary enterprise IT. The deal proleptically illustrates the beginning of a tidal wave of tech mergers and acquisitions as tech behemoths attempt to reinvent themselves by acquiring promising startups as evinced by HPE’s recent acquisition of CloudCruiser to help understand IT infrastructure consumption and usage. Cisco’s acquisition of AppDynamics means that 2017’s first tech IPO has fallen by the wayside even as the year awaits a number of promising IPOs that could include the likes of Dropbox, Spotify, Airbnb and AppNexus.
Cisco has announced plans to acquire hybrid cloud management optimization vendor CliQr for $260M. CliQr helps organizations deploy, manage and monitor applications across a multitude of cloud-based environments by empowering them to manage their applications from a single pane of glass. The company’s technology has the ability to abstract an application from a single environment by creating a blueprint that facilitates its deployment and subsequent modification in a variety of cloud and on-premise IT infrastructures. Moreover, CliQr helps customers optimize the cost of their application deployments by providing analytics about which combination of cloud environments and on-premise deployments are most cost-effective given parameters such as resource consumption, scalability, network bandwidth and latency considerations. Cisco’s acquisition of CliQr enhances its positioning in the increasingly hot hybrid cloud management space that focuses on application deployment and monitoring. CliQr, which had raised $38M, was founded in 2010 but emerged from stealth in 2012. Cisco expects to finalize the acquisition in Q3 of 2016.
Basho Technologies has announced the development of a framework that allows Riak KV to run on Apache Mesos in collaboration with Cisco. The integration of Riak KV, a highly available distributed database, with Apache Mesos allows users of Riak KV to take advantage of the conjunction of the massive scalability and operational simplicity of Mesos. As such, the conjunction of Riak KV and Apache Mesos enables Basho customers to embrace use cases featuring globally distributed internet of things data and big data applications that ingest massive volumes and velocities of streaming data. Mesos takes control of the infrastructure requirements of the system whereas Riak KV owns the data layer in the form of a NoSQL database that allows users to store and access data for interactive mobile and web applications that feature concurrent, real-time input from millions of users. The integration of Riak KV with Apache Mesos will be available on Cisco’s Intercloud, an evolving marketplace for cloud and big data products that features an emerging array of products for building hybrid clouds. By bringing Riak KV and Mesos into the mix, Cisco proleptically sets the stage for a turnkey, cloud-big data platform marked by the confluence of cloud infrastructures and big data stores such as Riak KV. The decision to integrate Apache Mesos alongside Riak KV underscores Cisco’s interest in operational simplicity given the reputation of Mesos for its ability to allocate shared resources in distributed data environments. All told, Cisco continues to make systematic, step-wise progress toward a leadership role in the emerging cloud and big data space as evinced by Riak KV’s ability to leverage the scheduling, massive scalability and operational simplicity of the Mesos architecture. Customers should expect to hear more announcements from Cisco about how products such as Riak KV fit into a larger solution that leverages the other components of its portfolio, with an anticipated focus on increased integration between the cloud and data tiers of its Intercloud platform.
.NET and Java enterprise PaaS company Apprenda recently announced that it will be available in the Cisco Intercloud Marketplace. Slated for launch in the fall of 2015, the Cisco Intercloud Marketplace aggregates applications that run on Cisco’s Intercloud platform for building hybrid clouds. As part of the collaboration between Apprenda and Cisco, Apprenda will support Cisco SDKs and APIs. The partnership between Apprenda and Cisco underscores the co-implication between Platform as a Service vendors qua Apprenda and hybrid infrastructures such as Cisco’s intercloud, a “cloud of clouds” that facilitates the creation of hybrid, OpenStack-based clouds by delivering infrastructure and application development functionality. Apprenda’s forthcoming availability within the Cisco Intercloud Marketplace builds upon recent partnerships with Piston Cloud (recently acquired by Cisco) and Microsoft Azure in a clear sign that, with the exception of Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the days of a standalone PaaS platform may well be numbered as the industry churns out partnerships between application, database and infrastructure technologies such as the Basho Data Platform and Piston Cloud OS 4.0. The bottom line here is that PaaS is increasingly morphing into an appendage to IaaS-focused platforms albeit, a critical one by way of its ability to deliver a ready to use database and application stack that can be immediately consumed by developers.
Today, Cisco and Equinix announce that Cisco Tail-f Network Control System (NCS) will now form part of the foundational infrastructure of the Equinix Cloud Exchange. Cisco Tail-f Network Control System (NCS) enhances the Equinix Cloud Exchange by delivering multi-vendor orchestration functionality in addition to the automation of networking solutions. As such, TCS empowers customers to rapidly provision multi-cloud environments and thereby optimize the selection of different cloud platforms for a multitude of use cases. By facilitating the rapid deployment of multi-cloud environments, Cisco Tail-f NCS further empowers customers to leverage a myriad of cloud platforms for redundancy and failover purposes in addition to empowering them to avoid vendor lock-in. Because NCS complies with the YANG and NETCONF protocols, it can manage use cases requiring the configuration and orchestration of multiple cloud platforms in real-time. The innovation of Cisco Tail-f Network Control System (NCS) consists in its ability to facilitate agile multi-cloud development and orchestration by integrating with the Equinix Cloud Exchange SDN’s Equinix Programmable Network (EPN). Built on a modular architecture and a “proven set of APIs that allow customers to self-provision multiple new connections instantaneously,” the Equinix Cloud Exchange delivers an infrastructure that mitigates against vendor lock-in and gives customers more choices with respect to their deployments and long-term cloud strategy. Equinix’s partnership with Cisco and its NCS technology represents a breakthrough in multi-cloud management and underscores the degree to which the industry can now support operational agility with respect to the management of multiple cloud vendors as represented by the ability to provision and configure multiple cloud deployments in real-time.
On Thursday, Cisco announced plans to acquire Metacloud, the provider of OpenStack-based on premise private clouds hosted either at a customer’s datacenter, or at one of Metacloud’s five global datacenters. Metacloud also offers hybrid cloud options based on a combination of its hosted and private cloud offerings. Cisco’s acquisition of Metacloud’s private cloud as a service strengthens its ability to execute its Intercloud strategy of building one of the world’s largest networks of cloud platforms. As noted in Cisco’s press release announcing the acquisition, given an IaaS landscape with “OpenStack gaining global acceptance through its ability to handle any workload on any hypervisor on any public or private cloud,” OpenStack constitutes a key component of Cisco’s Intercloud strategy. Cisco’s acquisition of Metacloud builds on its promise from March 2013 to invest $1B in the cloud and illustrates a growing trend whereby large technology companies are starting to acquire nimble cloud startups as evinced by HP’s recent acquisition of Eucalyptus. The bottom line here is that private and hybrid cloud services are increasingly indispensable for any technology company and that the allure of OpenStack as an interoperable IaaS technology platform is gradually achieving fruition. The acquisition of a commercial OpenStack vendor represents the safest bet for a large tech or telco interested in augmenting its portfolio of cloud products and services in contrast to the huge capital investment required to build a proprietary IaaS platform. All this means that OpenStack startups can expect their valuations to soar as large tech companies seek to cash in on cloud products and services before the market becomes saturated with an embarrassment of IaaS riches. As a result of the acquisition, Metacloud employees will become part of Faiyaz Shahpurwala’s team as Cisco’s SVP of Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Services. The acquisition is intended to close in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2015.
Cisco will be acquiring San Francisco-based Meraki Inc. Meraki, a 330 employee startup, provides customers with cloud-based software for managing networking solutions such as Wi-Fi, security devices and mobile devices. Meraki’s acquisition enables Cisco to expand its market penetration in the midmarket segment with respect to cloud-based management of networking as well as security and mobile devices. The acquisition empowers Cisco to offer its midmarket customers the cloud-based networking management infrastructure they require even though those same customers lack the resources to implement more complex networking management solutions.
The move is widely regarded by analysts as an acquisition not only of cloud-based networking software, but also of cloud-based infrastructure management software more generally. Gartner’s Mark Fabbi, for example, remarked:
It’s pretty clear Cisco bought Meraki because of their ability to manage cloud infrastructure and Meraki has proven that the model works and is robust. I would expect that it will become the platform for Cisco to offer different delivery and management models to a much broader product and customer set.
Meraki will become of the “Cloud Networking Group” at Cisco, which strongly suggests a grander vision for its future than cloud-based Wi-FI management alone. Cisco will acquire Meraki for $1.2 billion in cash and employee-retention incentives. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.