Cisco acquires Andiamo, SAN technology

Cisco Systems Inc. announced Tuesday the acquisition of San Jose-based Andiamo Systems Inc. – its ticket into the large, high-growth Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) switching market.

Andiamo is a developer of intelligent storage switching products for the SAN market. “With Andiamo’s technology, Cisco’s customers for the first time, will be able to consolidate disparate storage networks into an integrated SAN infrastructure,” said Ammar Hanafi, vice-president of strategy and business development at Cisco.

He said that ultimately this new technology would allow Cisco to offer to its customers the same level of scalability, performance and manageability for storage networking that Cisco does in local area and IP networking.

Hanafi added that Andiamo’s technology introduces new intelligent services that will significantly reduce the costs of ownership of SAN infrastructures with improved operational efficiencies.

And Cisco is optimistic about succeeding in this market.

“We believe that our intimacy with large enterprise customers who are the key consumers of Fibre Channel technology, will allow us to be successful in penetrating this new market opportunity,” Hanafi said.

This market is supposed to grow from US$1.2 billion in 2002 to US$4.3 billion in 2006, according to a June 2002 report by the market research firm Gartner Group, based in Stamford, Conn.

Right now, Cisco deals only with IP-based SANs, but according to Alan Freedman, an analyst at IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto, the IP-based SAN market did not take off as quickly as the Fibre Channel market.

“Cisco is now able to enter a market where they’ve been focused on IP-based SAN networks,” he said.

Mario Mazzola, Cisco’s chief development officer said this acquisition meshes with the companies goals which are: to extend its technology leadership through the development of intelligent products and global solutions; to offer industry leading innovation; and building open platforms and partnerships.

“My team is continually looking for ways to offer new innovative solutions that will support our customer success,” he said. “We are very excited to announce the acquisition which we feel will strongly support our customer network.”

Its first family of multilayer directors and fabric switches, the MDS 9000 family, was also unveiled today, but will not be unleashed into the market for another few months. The family consists of the Cisco MDS 9500 series of multilayer directors and the Cisco MDS 9216 Multilayer Fabric Switch.

“The Cisco MDS 9000 family supports Fibre Channel for large data centre environments, iSCSI – an emergent standard using the IP network -for small and medium businesses and workgroups, and Fibre Channel Over IP (FCIP), for remote SAN connectivity,” Annafi said.

However, despite today’s announcement, Cisco’s purchase of Andiamo won’t be finalized for until the third quarter of Cisco’s 2004 fiscal year, no later than July 31. Today’s announcement marked Cisco exercising its right to acquire Andiamo, an agreement that was made in 2001.

Under their agreement, Cisco is the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of all Andiamo products.