Cisco Just Bought This Machine Learning Startup

Fortune Brainstorm TECH 2016
Fortune Brainstorm TECH 2016 WEDNESDAY, JULY 13TH, 2016: ASPEN, CO 9:00 AM A NEW MODEL FOR CONNECTIVITY Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco Interviewer: Andrew Nusca, Senior Editor, Fortune PHOTOGRAPH BY STUART ISETT/Fortune Brainstorm TECH
Stuart Isett—Fortune

Cisco is adding some machine-learning muscle to complement its big acquisition of AppDynamics in the spring.

The networking giant said Thursday that it bought the enterprise tech startup Perspica for an undisclosed amount. Perspica is a small San Jose, Calif.-based company with less than 20 employees that has raised $8.85 million, according to the deal-tracking service PitchBook.

Rob Salvagno, Cisco’s (CSCO) head of mergers and acquisitions, pitched the deal as a way for Cisco to augment its AppDynamics business. Cisco swooped in at the last minute to buy AppDynamics for $3.7 billion just prior to the startup’s proposed IPO.

Similar to AppDynamics, Perspica’s software tool are intended to be used by corporate IT staff. Whereas AppDynamics’ specialty is to spot flaws inside corporate software, Perspica’s tools aim to locate errors in the corporate infrastructure like the servers that power all that software. Like many startups today, Perspica’s tools incorporate machine-learning technology, a form of artificial intelligence, to speed up and improve the core functionality of its software services.

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The deal shows that Cisco is trying to expand AppDynamics’ capabilities to eventually contain some of the features of other IT infrastructure-monitoring tools like Splunk. It’s part of Cisco’s overall efforts to expand from just selling physical routers and switches to software services for IT staff.

In the spring, Splunk (SPLK) partnered with AppDynamics competitor New Relic (NEWR) to make their respective IT monitoring and software monitoring tools easier to use together.

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