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Investment in SDN specialist beefs up Cisco's strengths for the higher levels of the networking stack.

Cisco Investing $6 Million in Embrane: Reports

Mitch Wagner
2/6/2014
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Cisco Systems is investing $6 million in software-defined networking (SDN) startup Embrane, part of a $12 million funding round for the vendor, according to industry reports.

The investment strengthens Cisco's support for the higher levels of the network stack, according to a report on GigaOm. Cisco is looking to ensure Embrane technology works well with its own platforms.

Embrane raised $18 million in Series B funding in 2011, taking its total investment to $27 million. In late 2013, Embrane cut jobs but said a Series C round was under way. Investors include New Enterprise Associates, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and North Bridge Venture Partners.

Embrane declined to comment on the investment, while Cisco is yet to respond to questions.

Embrane supports the Layer 3-7 portion of the networking stack, company CEO Dante MalagrinÚ said in a video interview with Light Reading. "We focus on the services that let applications get more agility out of the network infrastructure," MalagrinÚ said. (See Embrane CEO Dante Malagrinò.)

The company started by filling unmet needs for early infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud providers. "It was clear to us that being able to spin up a load balancer on demand in a matter of seconds in an automated fashion or a firewall or any other type of network service as a very significant priority for them," said MalagrinÚ.

Previously, Cisco launched and then almost immediately acquired its own SDN startup, Insieme, in a maneuver popularly known as a "spin-in." That acquisition was announced as Cisco unveiled its Application-Centric Infrastructure. (See Cisco Unveils Application-Centric Infrastructure and Cisco's ACI Gets Physical With SDN.)

We'll have more on this story later.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to mwagner@lightreading.com.

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DOShea
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DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
2/10/2014 | 9:47:41 PM
Re: Embrane
Perhaps a lot more deals are about to happen then, as big companies realize how someone else's niche product can help fill out their own networking strategy--or as they realize how much it's in the way, and needs to be vacuumed up.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/10/2014 | 6:00:01 PM
Re: Embrane
Acquisition seems like the endgame for SDN companies. It seems like a niche rather than a full suite of services and products. 
C Chappell
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C Chappell,
User Rank: Blogger
2/7/2014 | 6:01:03 AM
Re: Embrane
Interesting - because Cisco is also developing its own network functions deployment and orchetration mechanism, Elastic Services Controller - so has it acquired Embrane to take a potential competitor out of the market or to augment its own function in key places? The deployment orchestration function that Embrane has developed is a key piece of the NFV management puzzle that's missing in OpenStack and not well-defined in the ETSI MANO stack. It's the focus of a big land grab from all sorts of players at the moment. Will the addition of the Embrane solution make Cisco's approach to NFV orchestration more open?
DOShea
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DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
2/6/2014 | 5:17:07 PM
Embrane
In theory, this looks like a pretty good fit with what Cisco is doing with ACI at lower layers. More companies have started to move in to Embrane's applications territory, increasing the competitive mix, so I wonder if Cisco will face a decision about buying the company eventually if it really does like the technology.
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