This morning, Gigaom broke the story that Oracle acquires Xsigo for SDN smarts. I’m personally a big fan (no financial connection) of Xsigo and we hear from major datacenter customers who love the Xsigo technology. Part of my excitement for Xisgo maybe because I was a member of the team that recommended Juniper’s investment in Xsigo in the start up days. A big congrats to the Xsigo team!
One question we’ve been asked is Xsign SDN or not SDN. My initial thoughts are:
- Xsigo is more similar to non-SDN datacenter Fabrics from Brocade and Juniper than true network virtualization, software-defined networking or SDN like Nicira. This is a hardware play with some smart software, but deep down, it’s a hardware plan.
- Oracle is a perfect home for Xsigo. Say what you want about the ‘old’ Sun Microsystems business — though, Oracle still has plenty of feet on the street and account relationships to sell Xsigo’s product and it aligns well with the compute and storage hardware. This fills a big gap in Oracle’s product mix.
- Who does this hurt? Unlikely true network virtualization or SDN players. More likely – this deal hurts Brocade, Cisco and Juniper, as Xsigo at it’s core is a hardware company — a very good hardware company — with very strong networking expertise. And may reduce the need for Oracle to acquire ,in the near term, a large networking hardware business while increasing competitive pressure on Brocade, Cisco, and Juniper. This also allows Oracle to start catching up with Dell, HP, and IBM as compute vendors with large networking businesses. Lastly, given what we’ve heard about Inseime, this is a good start for Oracle to prepare for battle against Cisco / Inseime from an Storage / Fabric / OpenStack / SDN perspective.
- Oracle — like other mainline compute and networking companies still lack SDN software capabilities. Though, one can argue that the likes of Oracle, IBM, and HP have more relevant software expertise in house than Brocade, Dell, Cisco, Juniper, etc given they operate multi-billion dollar software businesses.
In short – this helps Oracle catch up in Networking — though not really an SDN acquistion, though you have to give Oracle credit to positioning the acquisition as an SDN play to insert themselves into the hype. One thing is true — it’s quite a summer for SDN with more to come!