back to article How to waste two years and lose $415m: Cisco's now-dead Whiptail deal

Cisco has confirmed that the Invicta all-flash array line is no more, telling The Register: "As part of product lifecycle management, we withdraw technology from the marketplace when necessary to focus our efforts on what is critical for the future of our customers' business as well as our own." The networking goliath added: …

Anonymous Coward

Pankaj Patel, Satinder Sethi,,,,

... the names alone tells everything. Like their brother Nadella at Microsoft. Destroyer without a real vision, trying to manage realities they can't grasp.

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Re: Pankaj Patel, Satinder Sethi,,,,

"The names" tell us everything? Really? And what precisely would that "everything" include?

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Re: Pankaj Patel, Satinder Sethi,,,,

It tells me that AC is ignorant about everything relating to the history of maths, sciences, and technology in that part of the world.

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Re: Pankaj Patel, Satinder Sethi,,,,

I agree, once you get some 'self - important' egotistical, non-social asshole' in the mix, you're just fucked.

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Some things never change.

1) Cisco doesn't know how to do storage.

2) The "Cisco acquisition machine" is vastly overrated.

3) Many acquisitions suck. Maybe the reason they're selling the company is because they know their product is weak and will not stand a chance in the market.

Thanks for the entertainment though!

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Anonymous Coward

Shades of SANTAP...

@yo_G : Agreed, Cisco does not know how to do storage.

We've seen a variation of this play before in the storage field with Cisco's handling of SANTAP.

SANTAP was a brilliant idea that several partners invested millions in only to see their investments dashed by overpriced software, severely underpowered hardware that was incapable of performing WIOPs at enterprise levels, and unbelievably slow flash (like 55ms) for WIO cache until commit.

Cisco has storage vision at 20,000 feet, but fails time-and-time again when it comes to the details.

Ironic that NetApp the king of acquistion killers was a factor in Whiptail's downfall.

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The pressure from Perez "was quite enormous"

Ouch. Paul Perez did immeasurable damage to Cisco UCS through this Whiptail fiasco. It seems as though basic, common sense and technical due diligence would have led any moderately intelligent person to pass on this stupid idea. Instead, he paid hundreds of millions for an unpolished turd and then re-directed UCS resources to "fixing" that which could not be fixed.

But, at least Paul "pushed" for this turd to ship. And he endured a public stop ship and eventually resigned in total disgrace.

At least we now know that there is karma in this world. He now can bring his low IQ and destructive tendencies to Dell's doorstep. And, Dell has really been pushing their new "all flash" arrays. :0 I'm going to make a big bowl of popcorn and wait for this Dell trainwreck to happen soon.

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Re: The pressure from Perez "was quite enormous"

Yes, one can only hope Dell's more attentive top mgmt will cut him off before he can inflict any similar damage...

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Unhappy

"Invicta's failure was fundamentally due to failures by Cisco management."

Let's hear that again.

"Invicta's failure was fundamentally due to failures by Cisco management."

TL:DR version.

Bought by a suit who thought $3Bn/yr revenue was not enough.

Killed by another suit who didn't like them, for various possible reasons.

Now where is that $400m+ bill going to be coming from you ask.

Easy.

Stockholder dividends.

You can bet none of the suits is on the hook for a cent of it.

On the upside it's not the $8Bn bath that HP took with Autonomy. Somehow "The deal wasn't quite as s**t as one another IT company did" is not a lot of comfort.

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Hardware problems

Two points... first, hardware. It sounds like Cisco's biggest problem here was the "you must use this NetApp off-the-shelf" mentality. If the engineers say "the hardware is inadequate", and after a month or so (to come up with creative solutions to cut resource requirements) they *still* say "the hardware is inadequate", then guess what? The hardware is inadequate. Maybe they would have run into problems anyway, but it certainly helps to have a system that you think will actually run your software adequately.

Second point... re "..the names alone tell everything." The names alone tell nothing. Management problems apply to all nationalities.

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The Register has asked Cisco for comment

Good luck with that.

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Anonymous Coward

Cisco and Ethernet

At least part of Invicta's woes were from the fact that Whiptail's development and clustering was originally based on Infiniband and fell down when trying to jam all that into UCS... whose great converged Ethernet story was limited to chassis management and FCoE. RDMA was left out completely, only recently becoming supported on newer blade VIC cards.

Invicta engineers were not able to make the solution based on UCS blades work on Ethernet, and of course the UCS fabric extended architecture added more L2 hops/latency to it even if they did get it to technically work. So much of Whiptail's cluster tuning out the window (and now Whiptail entirely) just because Cisco has such a vested interest in seeing Infiniband die.

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Anonymous Coward

Bad engineers yield bad results

Cisco's management of their converged and hyper-converged partner ecosystem is a mess. Cisco has an army of engineers who move way too slowly to do the appropriate testing and validation for their partner solutions at the expense of a good customer experience. They want to partner with everyone but the engineers that are working on it are simply not very good and are not motivated to execute.

I expect Cisco to acquire Simplivity to mask their abysmal converged engineers and to bring a solution to market.

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This post has been deleted by its author

cisco is a death sentence for storage technologies

seriously, if I'm any of the various upstart storage companies out there today thinking that Cisco is a viable suitor, I would be terrified that they were considering buying them.

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Anonymous Coward

Get Real...

The Invicta team had no idea who their market was beyond VDI. They continuously came to presales asking, no begging, for them to find new markets. Beyond the dedup issues, it was also not fault tolerant. In block sizes above 8k, performance sucked. Way worse than any competitor. The biggest issue was it corrupted data. How in the hell could anyone sell this to an enterprise market, like a database market, with the possibility of data corruption and no fault tolerance? The Invicta team's lack of knowledge of what their customers wanted and needed killed this product and nothing else.

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So it's a tale of just another incompetent corporate greedy clown...

...aka Paul Perez who literally single-handedly ran Cisco's biggest storage operation into the gr4ound because he was only concerned about his own stupid fame.

Bravo, another utterly idiotic effort at Cisco, once again showing that the utter lack of top management will always attract Perez-like brinkmanship, posing like an 'aggressive manager' for the clueless top brass...

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A view from a var

I lived through this event in Cisco history working for a good sized VAR, I found it extremely interesting. Most of my business came from Netapp solutions including FlexPod so my first thought was gee, it looks like Cisco is stepping away from the FlexPod solution but what really happened was rather interesting to say the least.

It was obvious to me as a storage engineer; there were massive holes in the product that were supposedly being addressed. At the time I thought Cisco was just making massive hype and when they actually release it all the issues will be taken care of and things will go much like the introduction of UCS did. That did not happen, their reps were pushing it hard, their engineers bought in to it and pushed it hard but under the covers the product still had massive problems. At the time I had no idea what the politics were with the product but I did know there was going to be a bit of a train wreck. Sure enough there was, I thought, well ok, I am sure they will back off and fix the problems and take another run at it, but that did not happen.

I began to realize that Cisco really thought it could simply buy a startup and slam it in to its product and expect it to work like the UCS product. It made no sense, Cisco had seemingly, a very well thought out strategy for UCS and introduced it with some very compelling technologies that set it apart from other server products. That was not the case with the whiptail purchase. It seemed like Cisco made a visit to the Whiptail briefing center and signed off on the deal. Did an engineer even look in to the guts of the product? Very strange.

In my mind this deal was a management driven deal without oversight of engineering and then it somehow became political. I have never seen Cisco push something so hard and fast as this.

My conclusion is that the Hyperconverged market was given a major boost by Cisco’s failure on this product. It was shortly after this debacle that I started to see major pushes with the Hyperconverged products.

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Anonymous Coward

Please buy Pure

Dear Cisco,

Please buy Pure.

Sincerely,

EMC Corporation

Ps

And Nutanix. Thanks.

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