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Cisco swallows Tail-f, burps out network orchestration plans

Small-ish, Swedish, firm will be assimilated for cloud management purposes

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Cisco has – depending on your attitude – either bolstered its cloud portfolio or knocked out a competitor, with the $US175 million acquisition of Swedish network orchestration vendor Tail-f.

The company and its staff will be Borged into Cisco's Cloud and Virtualization Group led by Gee Rittenhouse, on completion of the cash and retention-based incentive deal.

Tail-f pitched itself as offering a network service orchestration platform to get rid of monolithic Operational Support Systems (OSS) software, which it sees as a bottleneck that stopped network operators getting the speed and agility they expect from SDN (software-defined networks) and NFV (network function virtualisation).

As Tail-f puts it: “The concept behind network service orchestration is to decouple network services from specific network components, while automatically configuring the network according to the service specifications”.

According to Cisco, the Swedish company's products “will simplify and automate the provisioning and management of both physical and virtual networks”. The technology is suitable for Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks, VPN provisioning, and NFV-based networking.

LightReading notes that with around 75 staff and estimated revenues below $US30 million, Tail-f will be easy enough to digest on an operational basis. However, maintaining confidence in Tail-f's open architectures may be more of a challenge.

Tail-f's CEO Fredrik Lundberg told LightReading Cisco has promised to maintain its existing operator and vendor relationships.

Maintaining a multi-vendor management capability would be good for Cisco - but it would be a culture clash inside the company. ®

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