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Cisco, Dell deals put converged infrastructure management in the spotlight

Beth Pariseau

As traditional data center silos break down, more organizations may consider converged infrastructure management.

Two acquisitions this week show that vendors see growing interest in this all-in-one management approach. Cisco said it will acquire Cloupia, a data center automation software partner, for a reported $125 million, and Dell announced plans to purchase Gale Technologies, another automation software vendor.

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Cloud drives new infrastructure that can't be managed with legacy software.

Zeus Kerravala,
principal analyst, ZK Research

"More and more customers are turning to their infrastructure vendors to provide management as well," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. "There's a movement away from third-party tools."

Cisco's Cloupia acquisition 'reassuring' to customers

Cloupia's ability to manage both physical and virtual infrastructure sets it apart from other IT as a Service offerings, said Bart Falzarano, chief information security officer at Walz Group Inc., a document management services provider in Temecula, Calif.

"Cloupia has capabilities that, when combined with Cisco's data center technology and cloud services, will allow companies to reach a safe, reliable, repeatable, secure and multi-tenant IT as a Service concept," he said.

Cloupia's Unified Infrastructure Controller software manages Cisco's various converged infrastructure offerings, which include its FlexPod architecture with NetApp and the Vblock product from the VCE Company. A 451 Research report linked on Cloupia's website put the number of Cloupia customers at 27 total. Cisco's marketing heft will in all likelihood boost that number and keep Cloupia's product line viable.

"To see this kind of alignment across Cisco's cloud management suite is reassuring," Falzarano said. "It's helpful to have that kind of guidance when there are so many different companies and cloud management systems out there."

The acquisition will let Cisco offer a more consistent converged infrastructure management story and tighten management integration across networking and compute infrastructures, said Paul Perez, chief technology officer of Cisco's data center group. There's a bit of overlap between Cloupia's offering and Cisco's Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) software, but the plan is to focus Cloupia on infrastructure management as an enhancement to Cisco's Unified Computing System Manager, and to integrate it under IAC, Perez said.

Dell's push into converged infrastructure management

Dell's acquisition of Gale Technologies, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor, will add compute, storage and network provisioning, plus automation and self-service capabilities, to its enterprise software product line.

"The theme here is universal: Cloud drives new infrastructure that can't be managed with legacy management software," Kerravala said.

More on converged infrastructure management

The value of converged infrastructure in private cloud

Are converged infrastructure systems worth the price?

The Gale Technologies acquisition continues Dell's push to reinvent itself as an enterprise software vendor and not just a PC manufacturer. The company still needs to show how its acquisitions and other changes will benefit customers, Kerravala said.

"Buying from Dell is like buying from TJX," he said. "There's lots of interesting stuff, but it doesn't go together very well unless you're willing to go through the work of integrating everything."

Gale Technologies will become part of a new business unit at Dell called the Enterprise Systems and Solutions Group.

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for SearchCloudComputing.com and SearchServerVirtualization.com. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.


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