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Cisco Buys Nuova as FCoE Heats Up

In a play on converged data center networks and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), Cisco is buying the 20 percent of Nuova Systems it doesn't already own (see Cisco, Brocade See One Big Happy Fabric).

At this week's Storage Networking World conference in Orlando, Fla., Cisco also unveiled the Cisco Nexus 5000 Series, a product first developed by Nuova. The 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch offers unified fabric capabilities and support for multiple data center networking protocols and software intelligence, including FCoE, lossless Data Center Ethernet and iSCSI.

Nuova had operated as a majority-owned subsidiary of Cisco after the networking giant invested $70 million for 80 percent of the company between August 2006 and April 2007. The acquisition is success-based, with the total value determined by the revenue of Nuova products over the next three years.

The deal also brings back to Cisco Nuova founders Luca Cafiero, Prem Jain, Soni Jiandani and Mario Mazzola, along with VMware co-founder Ed Bugnion and Ipsilon Networks founder Tom Lyon. All six Nuova founders and the company's 200 employees in San Jose and Beaverton, Oregon are expected to stay with Cisco. Nuova will operate as an independent business unit led by Cafiero, Jain and Mazzola, who will all report to Cisco CEO John Chambers. The deal is expected to close by the end of Cisco's fiscal year in July.

Jackie Ross, vice president of partner ecosystems at Nuova Systems, said the Nexus 5000 uses FCoE to consolidate LAN, WAN and Fibre Channel and iSCSI-based SAN traffic onto an Ethernet-based unified fabric. It also provides virtual machine (VM) optimized services and rapid provisioning.

The Nexus 5000 can connect to either the Cisco Nexus 7000 or Cisco Catalyst 6500 in the aggregation and core layers of the data center, and with native Fibre Channel interfaces, the switch can also connect to SAN fabrics through the Cisco MDS 9000 platform.

A number of vendors have signed up to support the new offering, including 3PAR Data, APC, Broadcom, Dell, EMC, Emulex, Intel, NetApp, Netxen, Panduit, QLogic and VMware. Intel, QLogic and Emulex also unveiled FCoE adapters at SNW.

Pricing for the Nexus 5000 starts at $36,000 for the fixed configuration 40-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch, with availability starting next month.

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