Cisco’s acquisition of Composite Software is unique compared with the ones it’s done in the past. This acquisition makes networks more knowledgeable about data — a piece that’s been missing from Cisco’s framework.

Today, digital information that flows through networks is not data-aware. To networks, data is just represented as bits and bytes. There’s no built-in intelligence that tells the routers that some data needs higher priority when routing or needs to travel to another location before reaching its destination. The data intelligence piece is missing. This is where Composite Software comes in. Composite Software is a data virtualization company that knows what data is being used, how the data needs to be transformed and routed, and what data has higher priority.

Data virtualization deals with an abstraction layer of information from many disparate data sources — so it can integrate with applications, databases, files, virtualization, clouds etc.  Composite Software is one of the leading data virtualization companies that is often shortlisted by customers largely because of its strong product offering. It supports some of the most complex data virtualization deployments in existence — in part because it’s been active in this market as long as, or longer than, any other player. A key component in any large data virtualization implementation is the network that ensures consistent performance while accessing all of the disparate data, especially if the data is located across many servers, clouds and virtualized platforms.

With Cisco and Composite Software now together, the combination of networks, servers, and data virtualization makes it a powerful, unique framework that will lead to innovation and more opportunities for Cisco. Cisco is likely to offer Composite’s data virtualization components integrated into network switches, routers, and hardware appliances. The combination of tighter integration of these technologies will benefit customers to support real-time analytics and timely insights that'll deliver competitive advantage.

Forrester first reported on data virtualization back in 2006, in a report called “Information Fabric: Enterprise Data Virtualization”. Since then, several products and technologies have evolved to support tighter integration with various data sources, enable dynamic data management, and extend integration with distributed in-memory fabric. Cisco’s acquisition of Composite aligns with our vision of the information fabric, where enterprises will have interconnected informatin fabrics that will create global fabrics. Stay tuned — we’re refreshing the information fabric report and will publish it soon.