Cisco buys Topspin

Cisco aims to broaden its data centre portfolio by buying server fabric switch specialist Topspin Communications for US$250 million.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  April 16, 2005

Cisco aims to broaden its data centre portfolio by buying server fabric switch specialist Topspin Communications. Server fabric switches are designed to connect servers together into a grid, and then provide network and storage connectivity to that server grid. The firm also develops InfiniBand technology and server virtualisation software. The deal could help Cisco to build networking solutions specifically geared to fulfilling needs in the utility computing environment. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately US$250 million in cash and options for Topspin. The acquisition is subject to various standard closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2005 ending July 30, 2005. "The widespread adoption of server architectures such as blades, grid computing, and clustered applications is driving an emerging market opportunity within the data centre,” says Luca Cafiero, senior vice president, Data Centre, Switching and Wireless Technology Group, Cisco Systems. “As our customers build out these new computing environments, it is important that we deliver server networking technologies to fit their needs. By adding Topspin's server fabric switches and virtualisation software, alongside our industry leading portfolio of Ethernet and SAN switches we are able to offer our customers compelling end-to-end data center switching capabilities," he adds. Topspin products are targeted at data centres where customers are deploying high performance grid and utility computing, clustered enterprise applications, and/or server virtualisation. These customers include enterprises, service providers, research institutions, and universities, with mission critical applications that are computational and data intensive and require high availability and manageability from the underlying infrastructure. Topspin's technology delivers a compelling return to its customers on their IT investment dollars by improving price/performance, promoting resource flexibility, and dramatically reducing equipment and management costs. This acquisition and the introduction of InfiniBand technology into Cisco's portfolio offers customers another way to meet their application networking needs. Several major server vendors have announced support for InfiniBand technology as part of their clustering and/or grid solutions for both their standard and blade server solutions. Specifically, Dell, HP, IBM, NEC and Sun have all announced relationships with Topspin to provide InfiniBand-based server fabric switching as part of their portfolios. Upon close of the transaction, Topspin will join Cisco's Data Centre, Switching and Wireless Technology Group, led by Senior Vice President Luca Cafiero. Topspin was founded in April 2000 and has approximately 135 employees in the USA and India.

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