Cisco Buying Cloupia for Converged IT Management Solution

The acquisition will give Cisco more automated management capabilities around its UCS converged data center solution and partner products.

Cisco Systems is buying Cloupia, a startup whose software will enable businesses using the networking giant's converged data center solutions to automate and centralize everything from the servers and storage devices to networking services and virtual machines.

Cisco, which offers converged IT solutions through its own Unified Computing System (UCS) as well as the Vblock computing systems through the VCE joint venture with EMC and VMware, announced its intention to buy Cloupia Nov. 15. Cisco will pay $125 million for the company, and expects the deal to close before the end of the year.

Officials with Cisco said the rapid growth of cloud computing adoption is creating greater demand for converged IT infrastructures, which in turn is highlighting the need for more centralized and simplified management solutions. Cisco's UCS—which includes servers and networking technology from Cisco, virtualization from VMware and storage products from the likes of EMC and NetApp—was introduced in 2009, and has since grown to more than 11,000 customers with an annual run rate of $1.3 billion.

According to Hilton Romanski, vice president and head of corporate business development at Cisco, the UCS helped usher in an era of highly integrated, converged infrastructure solutions that are managed as a whole system, rather than each component being managed separately.

"Unfortunately, many IT administrator tools still only solve part of the puzzle, leaving much of their work reliant on tedious manual operations," Romanski wrote in a Nov. 15 post on the Cisco blog. "Cisco alleviates the complexity in the evolution to cloud-based IT service delivery by unifying infrastructure and allowing it to be managed as a whole."

What the Cloupia deal will do is enable Cisco to offer customers a single point from which to manage both physical and virtual solutions from Cisco and partners, including NetApps FlexPod data center platform, EMC's VSPEX virtual infrastructure offering and the Vblock solutions, he said. Cloupia's products will integrate with Cisco's UCS Manager and UCS Central solutions and Nexus 1000V virtual switch.

"Cisco's data center strategy is based on the premise of making it easier for customers to deploy a unified and integrated infrastructure that is efficient, fast and flexible," David Yen, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Data Center Business Group, said in a statement. "This strategy involves the delivery of the industry's most comprehensive data center networking portfolio, which includes physical and virtual products that support multiple hypervisors and storage stacks. The addition of Cloupia's automation software enhances the efficiency of such unified data center infrastructures, helping to accelerate the transition from physical to cloud environments more quickly and effectively."

Cloupia's products include its Unified Infrastructure Controller, a cloud provisioning and management solution that is vendor-neutral and supports multiple virtualization hypervisors, enabling customers to build private clouds and leverage public clouds, according to the company. The platform—which includes resource lifecycle management, operations automation and capacity management capabilities, as well as a self-service portal—gives users a single place from which to manage private, public and hybrid clouds.

Once the deal is completed, Cisco will integrate Cloupia employees into its Data Center Group.