Telecom Timeout

Jun 18 2014   9:08AM GMT

Cisco Tail-f combo could unify physical/virtual network management

Kate Gerwig Kate Gerwig Profile: Kate Gerwig

Tags:
AT&T
Cisco
network functions virtualization
openflow

Cisco plans to acquire Tail-f Systems, the Swedish vendor known for its multi-vendor network management software, for $175 million, the company announced on Tuesday. Tail-f’s A-list service provider customers include AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG and other Tier 1 service providers.

The acquisition stands to put Cisco in a position to provide a holistic network service management and orchestration product that offers a single pane of glass for Layer 2 through Layer 7 that includes a view into hardware, virtual appliances and OpenFlow switches.

Tail-f’s orchestration software is designed to help service providers automate management and provisioning. One twist to the Cisco acquisition is that in September 2013, AT&T launched its Supplier Domain Program 2.0 (Domain 2.0), which is designed to simplify and virtualize its network and utilize Network Functions Virtualization and Software-Defined Networking. Oops, Cisco wasn’t on the first list of Domain 2.0 vendors announced in February, but Tail-f was, which may get Cisco in the game.

Like AT&T, most service providers are moving toward replacing their legacy systems and simplify operations. Tail-f has multi-vendor capabilities and interoperates with Cisco competitors that include Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks, F5 Networks and Riverbed. Cisco isn’t known for its interest in interoperating with other vendors, preferring the all-Cisco shop. Following the acquisition announcement, however, Cisco said it plans to maintain the multi-vendor capability. Tail-f will be part of Cisco’s cloud and virtualization portfolio.

The deal is expected to close in Q4.

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