Oracle Just Declared War On Cisco

Ashok Krishnamurthi Xsigo OracleAshok Krishnamurthi, founder of Xsigo

Photo: YouTube/Xsigo

VMware isn’t the only big gun taking on Cisco. Oracle just bought a startup, Xsigo, that also makes “software-defined networking” technology.Xsigo’s technology is broadly similar to Nicira, a startup VMware just bought for $1.26 billion last week.

In other words, Cisco just got itself a new enemy.

Oracle didn’t reveal the size of the deal.

Oracle, Cisco, and Vmware are all trying to nab a share of a new market that could be worth $37 billion.

This market goes by a couple of names including “network virtualization” and “software-defined networking.” 

Whatever you call it, it does for networks what VMware did for servers. This means that companies can buy less network equipment (switches, routers), and cheaper models, too, and networks will still work fast. SDN moves all the fancy features out of high-end network equipment. They become software applications that sit on servers.

This is how next generation cloud-computing data centres are being built.

And it’s bad for Cisco, because Cisco makes most of its money selling superexpensive network equipment full of fancy features.

Oracle, like VMware, was already trying to do network virtualization on its own. Oracle’s was working on something called Project Crossbow as part of its Solaris operating system.

But Xsigo gives Oracle a big leg up. Xsigo already has more than 300 enterprise customers (including VMware!) and a bunch of patents around virtualization. It was founded by an ex-Juniper exec, Ashok Krishnamurthi, who also worked at Sun Microsystems. (Oracle now owns Sun.)

This was a smart move by Oracle.

Cisco isn’t sitting on its heels. Its got its dream team of engineers working on its own SDN tech, Insieme.

Meanwhile, everyone is lining up to eat Cisco’s lunch.

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