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Just weeks after acquiring file virtualization startup NeoPath Networks, Cisco Systems has ceased selling NeoPath's products.
In a notice on the NeoPath Web site, Cisco said that "all existing NeoPath products have been withdrawn from active sale."
Cisco said in a statement that NeoPath's 34 customers have service contracts ranging from one to three years, which Cisco will honor.
Cisco also said that it has "started working on a case-by-case basis, contacting each of the 34 customers personally, to make sure they are taken care of and not left in a bind. Each customer has been given a point person at Cisco to work with. Beyond that, Cisco is working with a variety of partners to help with product transitions for NeoPath customers, where appropriate."
So what will become of NeoPath's technology? Cisco suggested it will use the technology in some manner of wide area file services (WAFS) offering.
"Cisco currently provides wide area file services as part of our WAAS [wide area application services] technology," the company said. "By acquiring the Neopath technology, Cisco gets an even deeper knowledge of file level protocols such as NFS and CIFS. We plan on leveraging this knowledge to enable future product developments to accelerate and enhance file systems based upon tighter integration with the network infrastructure. This is in alignment with our SONA architecture, which offers network-based acceleration and APIs."
Cisco stressed that the offering will be "complementary" to its current WAAS product and customers' and partners' file-based solutions.
Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO, said it is "odd and surprising" for Cisco to terminate a product "without having ... at least a story available for existing customers of the NeoPath product and how to get them to a future Cisco-based product leveraging the acquired technology."
Schulz said the story is "one part Cisco end-of-lifeing an acquired company's product but not announcing or providing a clear statement of direction on what they will be doing and how they will be selling the acquired technology, and another part of the story sounds like it is being fanned by a competitor looking to get some coverage and exposure at Cisco's expense."
That competitor is Acopia Networks, which last week announced a "NeoPath Buyback Program," offering customers as much as a 100 percent product allowance if they trade in NeoPath Networks File Director products toward the purchase of Acopia ARX systems. Customers who purchased a NeoPath File Director product before March 12 the date of the Cisco/NeoPath merger announcement are eligible for a purchase credit toward an equivalent or greater Acopia product. The program runs through June 30.
An Acopia spokesperson said the company has heard from interested companies, but did not provide details.