Cisco to Buy Data Virtualization Vendor Composite

Composite's products enable businesses to integrate and view data from disparate sources in a single virtual data warehouse.

Cisco Systems is buying data virtualization vendor Composite Software, the latest move by the networking giant to build up its software and services capabilities.

Cisco will buy the San Mateo, Calif., company for $180 million, and is expected to close in the next calendar quarter, company officials said June 20.

Composite's data virtualization takes data from disparate sources along the network and enables organizations to view the data as though it were located in a single place. The data comes from both traditional and new sources—such as big data and cloud environments—and is integrated into a single virtualized data warehouse. This allows officials to make better and more informed decisions based on the data, according to Cisco officials.

As an example, the New York Stock Exchange Euronext generates massive amounts of data that are housed in a variety of locations, according to Hilton Romanski, vice president and head of business development at Cisco. Through Composite's products, Euronext officials were able to bring together the data into a virtual warehouse, giving traders faster access to data across 14 exchanges.

"With data virtualization's flexible data delivery infrastructure, the organization increased business responsiveness, improved the breadth of analytic insight and lowered its costs," Romanski said in a June 20 post on Cisco's blog.

Being able to offer such capabilities is important to Cisco, which is looking to expand its business beyond selling network gear. The company wants to become the world's top enterprise IT solutions and services provider, according to officials. The acquisition of Composite will expand Cisco's Smart Services portfolio and enable the vendor to help businesses better connect data and infrastructure.

Cisco officials also see Composite's software as a natural extension of the trend within the data center—including among servers and networking infrastructure—of moving from physical to virtual offerings, which improves business flexibility and agility.

"By combining our network expertise with the performance of Cisco's Unified Computing System and Composite's software, we will provide customers with instant access to data analysis for greater business intelligence," Gary Moore, president and chief operating officer at Cisco, said in a statement.

The move dovetails with Cisco's announcement in March that it was buying SolveDirect, whose technology is designed to make it easier for businesses to connect to cloud infrastructures and securely share data with partners and customers. The two companies will help Cisco in its efforts to create a framework for a unified platform and build its software services capabilities, Romanski said.

"Composite's data virtualization solution, combined with SolveDirect's process integration platform, will provide cross-domain data and workflow integration capabilities to enable real-time business insights and operations," he wrote.

Once the deal is complete, Composite employees will become part of the networking company's service team, which is led by Mala Anand, senior vice president of Cisco's Service Platforms Group, and Mike Flanagan, senior director and general manager of the vendor's Brokerage Technology Group.