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Cisco to buy routing specialist Parc

Networking giant has eyes for Parc technology that could boost what gear makers call the ultimate convergence tool.

Cisco Systems plans to acquire Parc Technologies, a maker of server routing software, for roughly $9 million, the companies said Thursday.

Parc, based in London, specializes in the development of server applications designed to streamline network routing issues. Through the acquisition, Cisco gains access to Parc's multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) technology, which it will integrate into its high-end server products.

Networking gear makers, including Cisco, have billed MLPS as the industry's ultimate convergence technology that can help bridge gaps between diverse server routing methods while supporting all the latest networking applications and services.

The technology is growing increasingly popular as telecommunications carriers move to deliver services, such as voice over Internet Protocol, that marry voice, video and data on a single network. Cisco has been criticized by some industry watchers for failing to include MPLS support in its new IOS XR operating system.

Cisco said that it will incorporate Parc's Route Server software into its MPLS Management product portfolio and that the applications will also be available as part of its IP Solution Center package. The company's goal is to offer an integrated set of networking programs that can calculate faster data routing plans on the fly and automatically send traffic through those channels.

In addition to acquiring Parc's existing applications, Cisco also inherits the company's virtual lifeblood: its process for developing the search algorithms that underlie all of its products. Parc, which was spun off from a research project at the University of London, also designs traffic engineering software used in airline scheduling applications.

Under the terms of the buyout, Cisco will pay cash for the shares in Parc that it does not already control. The deal is expected to close in the Cisco's fiscal first quarter, which ends Oct. 25. The company said that Parc's employees, including its chief executive, Gideon Agar, will work under Cisco's Network Management Technology Group.