In Pictures: Cisco's 10 most opportunistic acquisitions

These acquisitions helped Cisco jump on market trends early on, and take hold of them as they grow into money-makers.

Andiamo Systems, August 2002 Cisco's acquisition of Andiamo was notable for two reasons. The SAN space was a two-horse race, with Brocade and the poorly named McData out ahead. The MDS product that came from Andiamo gave customers a third credible option. The move was Cisco's first into the world of computing. It was also Cisco's first "spin in," where the company funded a startup, let it build a product, and then brought it back into the fold.

Andiamo's success paved the way for Cisco to later spin in Nuova (which became UCS), and most recently Insieme. The $750 million that the company spent on Andiamo certainly seems like a bargain considering it put Cisco on the computing map and legitimized its spin-in strategy.

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