In a move designed to advance its cloud virtualization portfolio, Cisco has announced its intent to purchase Tail-f Systems, a privately held company based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Tail-f is a provider of software products designed for network service orchestration solutions for both traditional and virtualized networks. The company helps service providers and enterprise IT groups implement applications, network services and solutions across networking devices.

The company believes the acquisition of Tail-f enhances its cloud virtualization strategy of bringing software that improves value to its customers' applications and services. Once Tail-f's network service orchestration technology is integrated into Cisco's portfolio, Cisco's service provider cloud and virtualization products will automate the provisioning and management of traditional and virtual networks. The move also reinforces Cisco's expressed commitment to open standards, architectures and multi-vendor environments.

Cisco and other industry leaders announced in April the formation of a new, open standards-based protocol called OpFlex. Co-authored by Citrix, IBM, Microsoft and Sungard Availability Services, OpFlex provides a singular mechanism that allows a network controller to transfer abstract policy to a set of "smart" devices that can render rich network policy on the device.

Accelerated growth and expanding network traffic volumes and complex infrastructures have added cost and complexity to the management of service provider networks. Complicating this is a substantial increase in the number of providers in the market, driving the fast-moving introduction of new services. The acquisition of Tail-f will help Cisco to provide new services with greater flexibility and lower cost.

"With a rapidly increasing number of people, devices and sensors connecting across the Internet of Everything (IoE), service providers require new capabilities to deliver value-added, cloud-based services and applications," said Hilton Romanski, senior VP, Cisco Corporate Development. "Our goal is to help eliminate the bottleneck caused by operational complexity within the network. The acquisition of Tail-f's network services configuration and orchestration technology will extend Cisco's innovation in network function virtualization, helping service providers reduce operating costs and the time it takes to deploy new services, making agile service provisioning a reality."

In a statement on Tail-f's website, company spokesperson Fredrik Lundberg said "We're looking forward to bringing out open, standards-based and model-driven service orchestration NCS software to more customers and partners as part of Cisco's global presence."

Once the acquisition has been completed, Tail-f employees will become part of Cisco's Cloud and Virtualization Group. Cisco will pay approximately $175 million in cash and retention-based incentives in exchange for all shares of Tail-f. Completion is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014.

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