shutterstock_33610675Cisco is buying data-virtualization startup Composite Software for $180 million.

Composite Software’s technology analyzes data and makes it easier to understand so businesses can gain insights and respond faster. Data virtualization is a way of creating a “virtual” copy of data on a centralized server to make it more accessible to more users. The data is basically distributed across a network, allowing companies to avoid investing in expensive servers for better performance.

The company will become part of Cisco’s Smart Services portfolio and extend its services platform by connecting data and infrastructure.

“Through this connection, companies will be able to better leverage network knowledge (APIs) and programmability, which maximizes the benefits of data virtualization,” Cisco said in a written statement. “As with the transition from physical servers to server virtualization and from physical networks to network virtualization, together Cisco and Composite will accelerate the shift from physical data integration to data virtualization for customers and partners.”

Data virtualization can help businesses to grow profits, reduce risk, optimize existing technology, enhance productivity, and accelerate development. It is part of a greater trend toward adopting virtualized, more flexible infrastructure that can adapt to massive quantities of data, and it’s a hot area of the tech world right now.

Acquisitions are a key part of Cisco’s innovation strategy. Cisco wants to become the world’s leading IT company, and to do that, it is scooping up “great technologies, business models, and talent” like there is no tomorrow. The networking giant made 14 acquisitions and nearly $8 billion in transactions in 2012 and is kicking its “M&A motor into high gear” in an effort to stay at the forefront of the industry. Composite Software builds off Cisco’s recent acquisition of cloud-services management business SolveDirect. SolveDirect offers enterprises and service providers a flexible way to integrate with service partners and automate sharing.

Both of these acquisitions are part of Cisco’s mission to give enterprise companies tools to streamline data and work lows across unified networks.

Composite Software works with nearly 200 large organization, including NYSE Euronext, Comcast, Qualcomm, Pfizer, the U.S. Army, Dell, and Wachovia. Upon completion of the deal, Composite’s employees will join the Cisco Services team. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

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