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Cisco buys back alumni: wants to acquire Embrane

SDN platform heads for Insieme unit

The Borg has followed up on its 2014 $US14 million investment in virtualisation business Embrane by announcing it intends to buy the business.

In an announcement that partner-competitors like Citrix and VMWare will probably wish was an April Fool's release, Cisco said the acquisition will give it a team that lets it “move more quickly to meet customer demands”.

The “lifecycle management platform for application-centric network services”, hardly a surprising description since the two have already been working wrapping Embrane into the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

The ACI's host business unit, Insieme, will also be home of Embrane, putting the target close to Cisco's software-defined networking (SDN) efforts.

Like Insieme, Embrane brings a team already familiar to Cisco, since its founders include Dante Malagrinò and Marco Di Benedetto, both Cisco alumni who between them are familiar with the Catalyst products as well as The Borg's data centre strategy, Susheel Chitre of Cisco's cloud partner program; and data centre switching engineering director Tom Nosella.

Working out how to embrace the SDN market without eviscerating its core business has been exercising the minds of most of Cisco's C-suite for some time.

Having discontinued its Application Control Engine in 2012, it looks like Cisco is now taking a stronger interest in the upper layers again, since Embrane's product line includes load balancing, but there's probably far more interest in its orchestration engine (the Heleos Elastic Services Manager) and the Heleos multi-service software platform. ®

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