Cisco recently acquired two companies, ParStream and Lancope, to provide analytics and security in the face of exploding network growth.
It's all about the Internet of Things, of course. It's not just a buzzword on your bingo card; it's technology that will transform the Internet.
Cisco estimates that 50 billion devices and objects will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Those devices will generate oceans of data which need to be analyzed and stored, for real-time access anywhere on the network, Rob Salvagno, Cisco VP corporate business development, said in an October 26 blog post announcing intent to acquire ParStream, a privately held company based in Cologne, Germany, in a deal expected to close in the second quarter.
Cisco believes the Internet of Things requires a whole new network infrastructure, with more intelligence at the edge of the network. The vast proliferation of devices and objects means that there won't be time or bandwidth for endpoints to send information to data centers or central offices and wait for return instructions. Data will have to be gathered, analyzed, and acted on at the edge of the network, with devices exchanging information directly with each other rather than passing them to central collection points and out again.
Providing analytics for those vast networks is ParStream's specialty. Its technology can "compute and analyze large amounts of data at the edge in real time, with minimal infrastructure and operating costs at the edge" using "innovative compression and indexing capabilities," Salvagno said.
For example, an automotive/telematics company uses ParStream technology for real-time analytics for sensor data and vehicle monitoring, Cisco said in an email exchange with Light Reading. ParStream monitored GPS data and event flows in real time, reducing overall data manipulation time by more than 90%, annual hardware costs by 60%, and improving execution time and scheduling.
Envision, a renewable energy company, uses ParStream technology for real-time analytics for wind turbines, improving productivity by 15%, significantly decreasing downtime, and realizing $158 million in annual economic benefit, Cisco said. Envision has 20,000 turbines with 150 sensors each, generating 30 TB of historical data. It needs to optimize wind turbine performance and quickly adjust to changes in wind direction, temperature, and other environment factors. It also needs to minimize turbine downtime through predictive maintenance.
The Internet of Things also requires a new approach to security, and that's where Lancope comes in. It provides technology to embed threat protection in the enterprise, data center, mobile, cloud and endpoints, Salvagno said in an October 27 blog announcing that deal. Lancope's StealthWatch provides network behavior analytics, threat visibility, and security intelligence.
The Lancope deal follows the acquisition of other security companies, including OpenDNS, Portcullis and Neohapsis, Salvagno notes.
The Lancope deal is valued at $452 million in cash and assumed equity awards, according to a Cisco statement.
The deals will help comms companies deal with competitive pressures from the New IP. Carriers will see their own networks grow to meet the needs of the IoT, with network devices such as cell towers becoming instrumented and requiring analytics and protection (just as Envision's wind turbines and telematics-equipped cars and trucks do). Enterprises are looking to traditional comms companies to partner on creating business value, and ParStream can provide analytics and Lancope offer security tools to meet those needs. And many enterprises are themselves transforming into comms providers, having to manage vast device networks, a trend which will only accelerate with the Internet of Things. The ParStream and Lancope acquisitions are steps in Cisco's effort to gain advantage from these trends.
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