Archive for October 2011

Video might finally be at the point where it acts as a rising tide that should lift most boats–competitors’ as well as Cisco’s.

Last week Cisco held a couple of industry analyst and press roundtables to celebrate the 5th anniversary of it’s TelePresence solutions. Now, TelePresence itself is much more than five years old. The first commercially available product was launched in the mid 90s from a company called Teleport, which became Destiny Conference that Polycom acquired in 2007. Even after that, Marconi had a cool product called VIPR, and HP of course, had Halo. But it was Cisco that evangelized the space and made TelePresence a household term (well, at least for us geeky folks).

I remember the first time I experienced TelePresence. It was in one of the Cisco buildings (10 I think) and Ron Davis, the Cisco AR person for it at the time, convinced me to try it out. I walked into the room, rolled my eyes and thought to myself that the last thing I wanted to see was another video conferencing solution. After just a few minutes though I really did appreciate how different it was from the other traditional video solutions that I had used. And the rest, shall we say, is history.

Despite the on going feud between Cisco and HP, the two IT giants put aside their difference and jointly collaborated to co-engineer a Cisco Fabric Extender (FEX) blade that will be the network inside an HP BladeSystem chassis.

There are certain expressions we use in life to describe situations that are so improbable that the issue we are talking about will likely never happen. Expressions such as “when Hell freezes over” and “when pigs fly” are a couple of them. In tech, we could have used the expression “When HP and Cisco work together” as our own version of this as the two companies have become bitter, mortal enemies. The Procurve group at HP spends most of its airtime describing why Cisco is too expensive. In fact, I was at an HP customer event a few months back (not as an analyst, I went with a few IT people I knew) and the HP presenters spent 90% of the time just bashing Cisco instead of talking about their own products.

Huawei has been a disruptor in the telecom market for years but remained only a perceived threat to enterprise infrastructure suppliers. Huawei’s broad portfolio coupled with it’s quality engineering gives Huawei a better than punchers chance of becoming a dominant enterprise vendor. Most enterprise buyers will likely stay with their incumbent vendors in the short term but Huawei’s massive size and scale make them a long term threat to the status quo.

Taking center stage at Interop last week was industry veteran John Roese. Those of us that have been around the industry for a while recognize John as one of true industry thought leaders and associate his name with companies such as Nortel and Enterasys but had gone radio silent over the past couple of years. Well Mr. Roese reappeared at Interop New York but this time sporting a name badge that listed him as VP and GM of Huawei’s North American Enterprise business and they’ve aimed their crosshairs at the mighty Cisco.

Cisco will be leveraging the Citrix remote access protocols to optimize the performance of VoIP and IP video traffic in a virtualized desktop environment.

Virtual Desktop (VDI) technology has been around a long, long time. Way back in the day, before my analyst days I actually worked for a Citrix reseller and did a fair number of virtual desktop deployments, although it was known as “thin client” technology at the time. Since then VDI has evolved by leaps and bounds, and things that were problems such as local peripheral support and printing are no longer issues today. However, through it all, the one thing that has remained an issue for VDI, limiting its value proposition, is multimedia applications–most notably voice and video. As VDI becomes more mainstream, overcoming these issues would be significant for Cisco whose enterprise business, in many situations, is led by voice and/or video. Network may drive more revenue, but it’s often led by a collaboration sale.

To solve this issue, Cisco released a new Linux based VCX VDI (VCX 6215) appliance and formed a strategic partnership with Citrix. The 6215 has a built in media engine to process multimedia traffic at the endpoint itself to improve the quality of experience. Additionally there is a VCX 4000 software load that runs on Windows PCs for organizations that do not want to use the appliance. The alliance with Citrix is designed to optimize the delivery of multimedia to branches over the corporate wide area network. Cisco will be leveraging the Citrix HDX remote access protocols to optimize the performance of VoIP and IP video traffic in a virtualized desktop environment.

I, like millions of other people, live their lives differently because of Apple, and Steve Jobs was the man with the vision that enabled it.

When it comes to Apple, I’ve never been one of “those guys”. You know those guys, the hard-core Apple guys that defend everything Apple does. They wait outside the Apple store when the new iPhone comes out and they tell you everything wrong with Microsoft. Everyone knows one or more of these guys but they were a select few–developers, security guys, and the geeks among geeks. I’m pretty geeky but I avoided Apple stuff for a long time because I didn’t want to be one of “those guys”.

Truth be told, I was one of “those guys” way back in the day. In high school, I learned how to program on an Apple II+ and it made me believe that if you had two floppy drives and 64K of memory there was no problem you couldn’t solve. Later on in college I did most of my machine language programming on one of the original Macs. But then, I joined Corporate America, became a Windows guy and never looked back and I started avoiding Apple products because of “those guys”.

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