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Cisco Systems wants to run your cloud, but you will end up doing most of the work thanks to its acquisition today of newScale.

newScale is not a startup, unless you count companies that were started back at the tail end of the dot-com boom in 1999, but in some ways it still behaves like one because the service catalog application software that founder Rodrigo Fernando Flores created more than a decade ago has come into vogue because of server virtualization and cloud computing.

In fact, one of the key technologies that turns raw infrastructure into a cloud is a self-service catalog that can keep infrastructure deployments consistent across many users but at the same time get end users off the backs of system administrators who need to manage an ever-increasing number and type of physical and logical devices.

newScale is privately held, and has had five rounds of funding, with $28.2m coming from its last three rounds according to its CrunchBase profile. Chess Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Menlo Ventures, Montagu Newhall Associates, New Enterprise Associates, Parker Price Venture Capital, and Wasatch Cross Creek Capital have all kicked in dough for the privately held company.

The newScale 9 suite of service delivery tools, which take all manner of IT hardware and software and turn it into a product catalog where people can order stuff like they do on Amazon or iTunes, was announced in January this year. The core component in the suite - and one with over two million users - is called newScale RequestCenter, and it implements a catalog for services performed by internal IT departments. PortfolioCenter is the catalog itself, and LifecycleCenter is the change management system for IT gear and services that controls how they are built, provisioned, and retired.

newScale has positioned its service catalog tools to be a key ingredient of cloudy infrastructure management, and said in January that in 2010, it grew its cloud customer base by 133 per cent and its deployments by 162 per cent. Scott Hammond, newScale's chief executive officer, said in a statement back then that in the fourth quarter of 2010, cloud-related software license sales were up 312 per cent.

This is the kind of growth that is attractive to Cisco. But rather than acquiring newScale to add it to its "California" Unified Computing System blade and switch amalgam, Cisco plans to plunk newScale into its Advanced Services group, where presumably Cisco can position the tool as being as neutral as Switzerland.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Cisco expects that the deal will close sometime in the second half of its fiscal 2011 year, which ends in July. ®

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