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July 27, 2015

Cisco dumps flash storage while bolstering executive

Shutdown of Invicta reverses $415m purchase two years ago.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Cisco dumped its flash storage business Invicta and overhauled its executive as incoming chief executive Chuck Robbins took control of the networking firm on Monday.

The abandonment of the Appliance and Scaling System products confirmed speculation that the $415m (£267m) purchase of storage vendor Whiptail in 2013 had not gone to plan, the products having been temporarily pulled last year over scaling problems.

Customers of the Invicta range will still be able to access support and spare parts, but Cisco will collaborate with flash storage partners such as EMC and NetApp rather than tackle the market on its own in future.

In a statement the company said: "Cisco strives to deliver solutions and services that exceed customers’ expectations; and 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 move follows swiftly after the sale of Cisco’s set-top box unit to the French media group Technicolor for £386m in cash and stock, outgoing chief executive John Chambers’ last hurrah after heading up the firm some 20 years.

That deal reversed the purchase of electronic manufacturer Scientific Atlanta nine years ago, with the firm appearing to be pivoting itself back to its traditional focus on networking.

Robbins, who joined Cisco in 1997 as an account manager, also added Zorawar Biri Singh as chief technology officer and Kevin Bandy as chief digital officer.

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Singh joins the firm with 20 years experience in the IT industry, including stints managing the cloud divisions at HP and IBM.

Writing on Cisco’s blog, Robbins said Singh would "drive thought leadership around Cisco’s long-term technology roadmap, platforms and architectures for the next era of digitisation", and "set the foundation" for the company’s long-term investments.

The chief executive added that Bandy would "capture the true value of digitisation by leveraging Cisco’s broad portfolio of solutions and services", even as the company trims its offerings.

Bandy joins Cisco after stints with the management consultancy Accenture, IBM and the cloud software firm Salesforce, which he left in August 2014.

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