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Cisco Gets Into Containers With ContainerX Acquisition

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Cisco Systems, which has been nibbling at the edges of the growing container market, is now jumping into the space with the acquisition of an eight-person startup that is less than two years old and launched its first product in June.

Officials with the tech vendor this week announced its acquisition of ContainerX, whose technology is designed to make it easier for enterprises to manage and integrate containers across multiple data centers and clouds. Containers are becoming increasingly popular as a way for developers to package complex software solutions and for enterprises to simplify increasing complex data center environments. Vendors like Docker and Mesosphere—which has gotten backing from Hewlett Packard Enterprise—are gaining traction in the space, and management tools like Kubernetes are hitting the market.

No financial details regarding the deal were released.

Cisco has been active in some areas of the space, including helping to found the Open Container Initiative—a project with the Linux Foundation—and by including container management features in its HyperFlex hyperconverged infrastructure offering, which was unveiled in March. Now the company is looking to ContainerX to help address a growing demand, according to Rob Salvagno, vice president of corporate business development at Cisco.

“Many of our customers are starting to use containers to build, deploy and manage cloud native applications,” Salvagno wrote in a post on the company blog. “Containers provide an easy, flexible way to build, test, deploy, and move applications across a variety of environments, including public clouds, private clouds and hybrid environments. Today the container space is in an emerging phase with Enterprises experimenting with adoption but at the same time wanting to see the level of security, manageability and interoperability they need within their IT environment.”

Cisco is among a large number of established tech vendors that are putting a lot of effort, money and resources behind initiatives to address such emerging growth markets as virtualization, the cloud, data analytics, software-defined data centers and the internet of things (IoT). The deal for ContainerX comes weeks after CEO Chuck Robbins announced Cisco will cut 5,500 jobs—about 7 percent of the workforce—as it continues to transform itself into more of a hybrid cloud infrastructure, services and software business.

Both Salvagno and ContainerX co-founder Kiran Kamity said that the combination of Cisco’s data center and cloud capabilities and ContainerX’s container technologies will be a good match in a rapidly shifting global data center space. Salvangno wrote that customers need containers to be easy to deploy, secure and interoperable with existing infrastructure.

“Cisco is uniquely positioned to integrate the next-generation data center with cloud-native and containerized environments that customers are demanding, all while still delivering advanced features such as security, analytics and management,” he wrote. “With ContainerX, Cisco is continuing to invest in innovative technology and talent to help our customers in their transition to cloud native architectures using containers.”

In a blog post, Kamity wrote that the “power of Cisco’s cloud and ContainerX’s experience has potential to offer a turnkey cutting-edge private and hybrid cloud to customers,” Kamity wrote, adding that Cisco’s sprawling distribution channels and industry reach will help accelerate development of the ContainerX technology. He noted that it took the company only 14 months to design and launch a product in the market.

The ContainerX team will become part of Cisco’s Cloud Platform and Services Group led by Vice President Kip Compton.


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