Cisco Acquires Tail-F for $175 Million

Cisco has announced their acquisition of Tail-F, snapping up their standards-based network management and configuration capabilities. The news is met with a mix of cautious optimism that Cisco is embracing industry standards, and uncertainty whether Tail-F solutions will remain vendor agnostic.

The deal was done at $175 million, a multiplier of  5-6 on Tail-F’s annual revenues of around $30 million. While not a big a mark-up as the recent purchase of Cariden by Cisco for an

Tail-F had built much of their business on the YANG and NETCONF standards – YANG is a data modelling language used to model configuration and state data manipulated by the NETCONF protocol, which itself is a protocol  to install, manipulate, and delete the configuration of network devices.

These standards are leveraged in Tail-F’s popular ConfD product, which is OEM’ed by hardware vendors to implement on-device management functions and north-bound interfaces to OSS systems.

Over at LightReading, Ray Le Maistre wonders,

But one of Tail-f’s strengths and attractions is that it has been an independent company that supports open architectures — being acquired by Cisco is going to raise questions about whether its valuable network management capabilities will be swallowed by the IP giant and its pioneering work will come to a halt…

One commenter on the story exclaims,

I can’t imagine the equipment vendors using ConfD will be comfortable with the new owners.

It was certainly the case that when Cariden became part of Cisco that many customers and partners started conversations with competitive products. The issue here appears to be that there is no other company offering similarly mature support for the YANG and NETCONF standards.

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