Cisco plans to buy the network file virtualization startup for an undisclosed sum by the close of its third quarter on April 28. That's nearly a year after Cisco invested in NeoPath's last $11 million round, which brought its total funding to about $29 million. (See Cisco, NeoPath Make It Official.)
Cisco will move NeoPath's 55 full-time employees from their Santa Clara headquarters to Cisco's San Jose campus once the deal is done. There, the group will report to Jayshree Ullal, SVP of Cisco's Data Center Switching and Security Technologies Group (DSSTG).
It's not clear yet whether NeoPath's CEO, Alan F. Baratz, will stay on board.
Cisco isn't clear about how NeoPath's wares will fit into its product line. Spokesman John Noh says they should compliment Cisco's wide-area application services (WAAS) offerings. "By acquiring the NeoPath technology Cisco gets an in-depth knowledge of file level protocols such as NFS and CIFS," writes John Noh in an email today. "We plan on leveraging this knowledge to enable future product developments to accelerate and enhance file systems based upon tighter integration with the network infrastructure." Specifics are unclear.
It's also unclear how the buy will affect NeoPath's other big partner, Network Appliance. NetApp's spokespeople say the vendor has no comment. And Cisco spokesman Noh stated the following: "Many of those details still need to be worked out as well, but for now we can say at an appropriate time, the current NeoPath customers and partners will be notified of Cisco's plans for the current product line."
The move demonstrates the importance leading storage vendors have placed on NAS file virtualization, an emphasis that began to show with EMC's purchase of Rainfinity in 2005 for $80 million and Brocade's purchase of NuView for $60 million last year. (See Brocade Bags NuView.) Now, Acopia and Attune are among the few startups in this space still standing on their own -- and both have recently raked in funding and new partnerships. (See Attune Racks Up $14M, Attune, Microsoft Partner, Acopia Files Away $20M, and EMC to Buy Rainfinity.)
Expect more details as this news unfolds.
— Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch