All signs point in one direction
Each of you have very valid points, BUT lets look at the landscape.
1. VMware buys Nicira for software defined networking (July 2012....EMC owns 80% of VMware)
2. EMC forges server partnership with Lenovo (August 2012)
3. EMC's history of 'breaking-up'...late 90's with HP, mid 2000's with Dell, Lenovo partnership inked with EMC...seems like both companies see the writing in the sand.
4. NetApp....well they are just coasting....nothing really interesting about them.
Cisco owns the market when it comes to networking. However, companies like Arista Networks, Brocade, and obviously the legacy players cut into the market share. So how can Cisco continue to grow? Answer: One stop shop for the whole stack and take the margin on storage.
Why Cisco would buy Whiptail for $415 Million is beyond me. Whiptail has a fast and cool product but the amount of customers they have does not warrant that type of money.
Prediction: Cisco will end up buying one of the newer hybrid storage companies. Looking at the storage landscape, I suspect it will be Tegile. They aren't too small or big and support all backend connectivity. Nimble was my initial thought but that changed when they filed for a $150Mil IPO.