Oracle Buys Xsigo for SDN Tech

Here we go again: On Monday, Oracle agreed to buy Xsigo Systems, a network virtualization provider, for an undisclosed amount.

Xsigo’s technology allows data center operators to abstract and allocate compute, storage, and network resources on demand.

The purchase is significant, obviously, because it follows VMware’s $1.3 billion purchase of Nicira last week. At the time, Nicira was considered to be the hot new startup in software-defined networking, the latest arrow in the quiver for operators. While Nicira’ customer base includes large Tier-1 data center operators including AT&T, eBay, Fidelity Investments, Rackspace, NTT, and T-Systems, Oracle claims that “hundreds of enterprise customers including British Telecom, eBay, Softbank and Verizon” have chosen to rely on Xsigo technology.

“The proliferation of virtualized servers in the last few years has made the virtualization of the supporting network connections essential,” John Fowler, Oracle’s executive vice president of systems, wrote in a statement. “With Xsigo, customers can reduce the complexity and simplify management of their clouds by delivering compute, storage and network resources that can be dynamically reallocated on-demand.”

The Oracle-Xsigo transaction is expected to close in the fall, the two companies said. Oracle claimed that the Xsigo technology would continue to be supported, and that training would be added to Oracle University.

The Fit

Oracle said it expects to use the Xsigo technology for network virtualization and its own Oracle VM for server virtualization.

On its Website, Xsigo took pains to note that its technology provided Oracle Exadata performance at a tenth of the cost. Instead of multiple Ethernet connections linking the Web, apps, and database tiers, the Xsigo technology uses just two cables, presumably the 40Gbps InfiniBand interconnect technology that the company likes to tout. In all, Xsigo claims that 70 percent of the cards, cables and switch ports can be eliminated, with up to 112 Gbits/s bandwidth to each server.

“The proliferation of virtualized servers in the last few years has made the virtualization of the supporting network connections essential,” Fowler added. “With Xsigo, customers can reduce the complexity and simplify management of their clouds by delivering compute, storage and network resources that can be dynamically reallocated on-demand.”

Oracle described the Xsigo technology as “complementary” to its own, and implied that there would be few, if any, changes to the Xsigo roadmap. Xsigo technology will be integrated into the Oracle stack.

(GigaOM also notes that Oracle has been trying to get its install base of database customers to use its own Oracle VM as opposed to VMware’s hypervisor, and that entrenching more of its technology into customer accounts will make it more valuable.)

So far, Oracle has claimed that the Xsigo technology would continue to interoperate with other vendors, although it will be “optimized” for Oracle technology. Xsigo’s compatibility list includes Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM servers, with just a handful of Sun Fire servers in the mix.

Cisco’s Insieme spin-in is expected to have an SDN-enabled Nexus-compatible storage product waiting in the wings. But if there are any other SDN companies hiding in stealth mode, now might be the time to reveal themselves and cash in.

 

Image: Toria/Shutterstock.com

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