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Oracle buys Xsigo for cloud, SDN

Software-defined networking (SDN), the hottest emerging networking technology, is also spilling into storage. That spillover accelerated today when Oracle acquired startup Xsigo, which allows servers to connect to any storage or network devices.

Oracle did not disclose the price, but it obviously was less than the $1.2 billion VMware paid for SDN startup Nicira Networks last week. Cisco also has a $100 million investment in Insieme to deliver similar technology.

Xsigo didn’t use the term SDN to describe itself, but Oracle did when announcing the deal. Xsigo marketed itself with the simpler term of I/O virtualization. Maybe that’s because using its software required customers to purchase a fabric director switch, and sometimes expansion switches and I/O cards.

But Oracle may choose to deploy the IP differently. Oracle isn’t likely to go into much detail for its plans until after the deal closes, which probably won’t be before October.

The first priority for Oracle when it makes an acquisition is to use the new technology to optimize Oracle products. But in a Q&A document Oracle released today, it said it would continue to support Xsigo customers and the cloud as well as the Oracle stack.

“While we expect to optimize Xsigo’s performance with the Oracle stack, Xsigo’s products will continue to support all heterogeneous environments and benefit any cloud deployment,” was Oracle’s answer to whether Xsigo products will continue to operate with non-Oracle systems.

Like VMware and Cisco, Oracle recognizes that server virtualization is changing the way those servers connect to storage and networks. Oracle will use Xsigo to address those changes.

“Oracle recognizes that achieving revolutionary improvements in both performance and efficiency requires a paradigm shift in the way compute and storage systems are interconnected and how that system interconnection is managed,” Oracle said in its release. “Xsigo simplifies cloud infrastructure and operations by allowing customers to dynamically connect any server to any network and storage, resulting in increased asset utilization and application performance while reducing cost. Because Xsigo consolidates and virtualizes the physical resources utilized to interconnect servers and storage, Xsigo is uniquely positioned to simplify the management of virtualized server and storage connectivity.”

Along with its directors and switches, Xsigo’s technology includes Fabric Accelerator software that connects virtual machines to storage and networks through software links that Xsigo calls Private Virtual Interconnects. It also has a Fabric Manager application to create, monitor and manage connections between servers and storage/networks.

Xsigo, founded in 2004, claims more than 300 customers including eBay and CarFax. Oracle said it expects Xsigo management and employees to join Oracle after the acquistion closes.

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