Cisco building its SDN capabilities with purchase of Embrane

2 Apr 2015

In a bid to “enhance the capabilities” of its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), Cisco is buying Embrane, a provider of a lifecycle management platform for application-centric network services.

“As we continue to drive virtualisation and automation, the unique skillset and talent of the Embrane team will allow us to move more quickly to meet customer demands,” says the company.

Cisco claims that an alignment of its engineering nous with the Embrane team – which includes Dante Malagrinò and Marco Di Benedetto as founders, both of whome previously worked with Cisco – will expand its services to customers through the Nexus portfolio, as well as aiding its ACI.

Shifting ground

SDN is an area of business that has clearly caught the attention of Cisco in recent years, with network-functions virtualisation (NFV) combining to offer far more agile, dynamic programming networks.

Indeed Cisco’s worries no doubt stem from predictions that its dominance in the current marketplace will be challenged as the growth in SDN and NFV continues.

That’s because rivals like Vmware sell SDN equipment themselves, trying to eak away at Cisco’s audience.

“We are pulling away from our competitors and leading in both the SDN thought leadership and customer implementations,” said Cisco CEO John Chambers a few weeks back.

“The market has recognised the benefit of ACI as compared to PowerPoint concepts of aspirational competitors.”

Embrane’s founders, meanwhile, are understandably excited about the venture, backed by their own “ability to build products that accelerate the adoption of more agile models for virtualisation and automation of networking capabilities in the data center. “

“The networking DNA of Cisco and Embrane together drives our common vision for an Application Centric Infrastructure,” says Malagrinò. “We both believe that innovation must be evolutionary and enable IT organisations to transition to their future state on their own terms – and with their own timelines. 

“It’s about coexistence of hardware with software and of new with legacy in a way that streamlines and simplifies operations.”

Cisco, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic