Oracle buying Xsigo, a maker of virtual I/O systems, follow last week's big deal: VMware acquiring network virtualization start-up Nicira for $1.26 billion. And it is, of course, a follow on to Oracle's biggest data center expansion deal - the acquisition of server stalwart Sun in 2010.
The deals are indicative of the importance networking plays in the converged data center/cloud infrastructure fray, and in particular how vital it is to virtualize the network along with servers and storage in these infrastructures. And if three is said to be a trend, two is an emerging trend - observers expect more deals to come between large server and storage vendors, and network virtualization players, putting more pressure on networking incumbents such as Cisco to respond or defend.
It's early yet for that, though, some analysts believe. The network virtualization and software-defined networking market is still in its embryonic stage and Cisco is still in the catbird's seat as far as everything networking.
"Between (Cisco's) ONE (programmability architecture), and its (Nexus 1000v virtual switch), I think Cisco is covered for now," says Jon Oltsik, principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "In truth, data center competition is coming from Arista and Juniper, not the SDN guys -- yet. However I think Cisco will get much more aggressive on messaging/promoting its network virtualization technology. Look for Cisco to go to its base of customers and CCNEs with SDKs, use cases, further education, etc. It will play its cards often and try to maintain its installed base and mindshare advantages."
Cisco had no comment on Oracle's acquisition of Xsigo, which makes products that serve as an alternative to Cisco's Fibre Channel-over-Ethernet (FCoE) LAN/storage convergence switches and adapters. Of the VMware/Nicira union, a Cisco spokesperson stated: