Cisco Buying Energy Software Maker JouleX

JouleX’s software enables enterprises to monitor and manage the energy usage of a range of devices and data center IT systems.

Cisco Systems is bulking up its capabilities around data networks and the Internet of Things with the acquisition of JouleX, whose technology enables businesses to better monitor and manage the energy usage of devices connected to the network.

Cisco will pay $107 million for the four-year-old Atlanta-based company in a deal officials said will close in the fourth quarter. After the deal, JouleX employees will become part of Cisco's Connected Energy Solutions team within the company's Industry Solutions Group, and will report to David Goddard, vice president and general manager.

The deal comes at a time when the number of devices connected to the Internet continues to grow rapidly, as does the number of machines connected to each other via the Web. Enterprises are looking for ways to manage those devices and the power they consume. JouleX's software—JouleX Energy Manager (JEM)—is designed to give businesses a complete view of the energy consumed by client devices and data center systems ranging from PCs and thin clients to physical and virtual servers, switches, routers, storage systems, voice-over-IP (VOIP) phones and printers.

The company offers its JouleX Mobile smartphone app to enable employees to help monitor their energy usage, and also as a free option on Cisco's Catalyst switches.

According to Hilton Romanski, vice president and head of business development at Cisco, energy usage will continue to be a key concern for businesses as more systems and devices connect to the network.

"Up to 50 billion objects are predicted to be connected to the Internet or interconnected machine to machine by 2020 as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology transition," Romanski wrote in a May 29 post on the company blog. "Many of those devices will be in constrained environments, where space, bandwidth and power will be at a premium. Cisco networks are differentiated by how we securely scale this type of environment and power consumption will be a key attribute of that differentiation in the future."

The JouleX technology dovetails with Cisco EnergyWise solutions, giving businesses tools to better manage the energy usage of their networked devices and IT systems, and to do so without having to put agents on the devices, invest in hardware meters or reconfigure the networks, according to Faiyaz Shahpurwala, senior vice president of Cisco's Industry Solutions group. Instead, the software leverages policies and analytics that are tuned to a particular enterprise's needs.

"With network-enabled devices increasing exponentially, our partners and customers are asking for this solution today to operationalize their energy management capabilities in the network and reduce cost," Shahpurwala said in a statement. "JouleX's cloud-enabled, agent-less architecture will allow our partners and customers to quickly deploy this solution at scale in addressing their IT energy management needs."

Cisco has been aggressive in building up its software capabilities through both in-house development and acquisitions. In recent months, the networking giant has bought Intucell, which makes self-optimizing network software for carriers; security software maker Cognitive Security; cloud services management solutions maker SolveDirect; and network traffic software vendor Cariden Technologies.