Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Cisco to Acquire Topspin for Server Fabric Switches

Cisco Systems agreed to acquire Topspin Communications, a start-up supplying server fabric switches, for approximately $250 million in cash and options.

Server fabric switches are a new class of server networking equipment designed for grid and utility computing, clustered enterprise applications, and server virtualization. Server fabric switches connect servers together into a grid, and then provide network and storage connectivity to that server grid.

Topspin has developed InfiniBand-based server switching equipment. Several major server vendors have announced support for InfiniBand technology as part of their clustering and/or grid solutions for both their standard and blade server solutions. Specifically, Dell, HP, IBM, NEC and Sun have all announced relationships with Topspin to provide InfiniBand-based server fabric switching as part of their portfolios.

Cisco said Topspin's InfiniBand-based server switching technology would complement its Ethernet-based Catalyst switching platform for internet/intranet infrastructure and its multiprotocol (Fibre Channel, FCIP, iSCSI and FICON) MDS switches for storage area networks.

Upon close of the transaction, Topspin will join Cisco's Data Center, Switching and Wireless Technology Group, led by Senior Vice President Luca Cafiero.

  • Topspin Communications was founded in April 2000. The company has approximately 135 employees in Mountain View, California and Bangalore, India.

  • Topspin was founded by Ross Schibler and Keith Wilkinson. Schibler was a founder of Rapid City Communications (acquired by Bay Networks). Wilkinson previously was Chief Architect for Lucent's Stinger DSLAM program. The company is headed by Krish Ramakrishnan, who joined Topspin from Cisco Systems where he was VP and General Manager of the Content Business Unit, responsible for Cisco's load balancing, caching, and content delivery solutions.

  • Topspin raised at least $47.5 million in venture capital. Investors included Advent International and included existing investors Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Duff Ackerman & Goodrich, and Presidio Venture Partners.


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