Acopia Plans NeoPath Buyback

After an 'end of sale' announcement, Acopia moves in for the kill UPDATED 4/3 9:30 AM

April 3, 2007

3 Min Read
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An "end of sale" announcement about recently acquired NeoPath Networks products from Cisco has prompted Acopia to move in for the kill.

But it's open to question whether or not NeoPath customers will take the bait.

File-virtualization vendor Acopia, which competed with NeoPath prior to Cisco's purchase of that company last month, says it's ready to buy back whatever NeoPath customers have spent on their wares and apply that toward a replacement system from Acopia. (See Cisco Nabs NeoPath and Virtually Changed Landscape.)

"We'll apply 100 percent of the purchase price of NeoPath to the purchase of [our product]... That trade-in allowance is in addition to any Acopia discount," says Christopher Lynch, Acopia's CEO.

Neopath, which claimed roughly 50 customers prior to its acquisition, sold its File Director virtualization devices for about $45,000. Acopia's ARX series of file virtualization devices range from $25,000 to $250,000 and support CIFS and NFS in NAS or file servers.Lynch claims Cisco is ready to pull NeoPath's products without replacing them in kind. A buyback, he says, puts customers in a better position relative to their management. Instead of having to explain the loss of support for a product they chose, they can instead point to a fresh deal at no extra cost.

Of course, the pitch depends on several factors, not least of which is whether Cisco really is ready to pull the plug on NeoPath wares.

Cisco hasn't made any roadmap announcement of its plans for NeoPath products, though the company has indicated it will be included in future products, perhaps releases of the wide area application services (WAAS) modules made for Cisco gear by its Cisco's Data Center Switching and Security Technologies Group (DSSTG).

"Since we have just completed the acquisition, we are still defining how the NeoPath technologies will be incorporated into our existing Data Center portfolio of products," states Cisco spokeswoman Lee Davis. "Cisco intends absolutely to leverage the NeoPath technology going forward."

This doesn't mean Cisco will resell the existing NeoPath products. As noted in Cisco's posting on NeoPath's old Website: "As a result of NeoPath Networks' acquisition by Cisco Systems, all existing NeoPath products have been withdrawn from active sale." March 30 is given as the effective end-of-sale date."We do not intend to resell the NeoPath product as it exists today," Davis maintains. "We will be leveraging the NeoPath technology. We will continue to support Neopath customers with existing service contracts, but no new service contracts will be issued."

What to do? At least one customer is suspending judgment for now. "I'm not really sure what I'm going to do. I know they're going to end-of-life [the NeoPath products], but I would wait until we get a direction from Cisco," says Jim Poehlman, chief information technologist at NeoPath customer and communications developer Ubicom.

Another customer has similar thoughts. "I haven't given it much thought, there's enough other stuff going on right now," says Charles Orgish, manager of distributed systems at Stanford's Computer Systems Lab. He acknowledges that NeoPath's product is a critical link for the NFS architecture his group has put into place. But he's relying on the longstanding good relationships he's had with both NeoPath and Cisco. "This happens a lot with suppliers we deal with."

Has he ever heard of a buyback like this? "No. It's usually for very old equipment, usually a way of getting rid of machines that are five or ten years old."

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • NeoPath Networks

  • Ubicom Inc.0

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