Cisco is in the process of buying privately-held Tail-f Systems, which specializes in implementing applications, network services and solutions across a range of networking devices. Cisco will pay about $175 million for the company.

Tail-f's technology also helps reduce the time-to-market for network equipment vendors building equipment for agile, software-programmable networks, Cisco said.

Service providers in particular should benefit from Tail-f’s products, using them to manage their networks as they introduce new services at a rapid rate. Cisco expects Tail-f’s offerings to dovetail with its cloud technology.

Cisco said that with Tail-f's network service orchestration technology, its service provider cloud and virtualization portfolio will simplify and automate the provisioning and management of both physical and virtual networks. Tail-f's solutions handle layer 2 or layer 3 VPN provisioning, and next-generation networking based on network function virtualization (NFV) and network programmability.

Among Tail-f’s customers are Deutsche Telekcom, Nokia Siemens, Blinq Networks, and Bay Microsystems.

Upon completion of the acquisition, Tail-f employees will join Cisco's Cloud and Virtualization Group led by Gee Rittenhouse, vice president and general manager.

The acquisition of Tail-f is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014.