Archive for December 2011

I’ve got a lot of issues with you network people.

Well, it’s time to put up the aluminum pole and gather around and air our grievances. In the immortal words of Frank Costanza, “I’ve got a lot of issues with you people”. So, without further ado here are my Festivus-related network and communications related grievances!

* People that think SIP trunking is more than 10% penetration. Even that number is too high but I’ve heard some argue that the growth potential of companies like Acme Packet is limited since SIP trunking is already so well penetrated. It’s no more than 5% in the US, so please understand what you’re measuring before you make a claim!

* Telcos that can’t articulate the value proposition of SIP trunking past cost savings. Yes, this is another SIP related grievance. While it’s true that SIP trunking does save money, it does a whole lot more for deploying organizations. It makes it easier to add on other multi media services, extends the IP-ness (careful how you read that) to the cloud and brings us closer to an all IP world.

The services that make up the DDI market (DNS/DHCP/IPAM) have been around since the birth of IP.  These services are essential to most IT departments and are a definite “need to have” set of technologies.  IT has certainly evolved over the past couple of decades and DDI has kept up with the times adding incremental features to help IT keep up with the constant evolution of IT.   However, I believe DDI now sits on the precipice of its most significant transformation yet – the shift to Active DDI.

The reason I feel this way is that IT is currently going through a mini perfect storm scenario where many forces are coming together that will drive the need for a more advanced DDI solution.  These converging IT forces are:

Well 2011 is winding down now and this past year was certainly a big year of change in the network industry.  The industry saw the introduction of “fabrics” into data centers with several traditional network vendors ship product this year.  In addition, hot start up Arista flexed its muscles and started making traction, particularly in the financial services vertical.  But alas, 2011 is coming to an end and its time for some predictions. So, for 2012 here is what I expect to see in the network industry. 

Look for Polycom to get acquired, Verizon to roll out VoLTE, and tablets to go beyond today’s uses.

Tis the season for us industry prognosticators to put on our Karnak hats on, look into the crystal ball and take a stab at what we might see in 2012. So without further ado, here are my top predictions for 2012….

Telecollaboration becomes a product category. This is the coming together of video, conferencing and other tools to create a collaborative environment that is user driven. In some ways, this exists today but the experience is not driven by the user. Instead the UC solution or network determine what all users see. With Telecollaboration, the user would have complete control over this environment. Start-up Vidyo has been focused on this and Cisco is beginning to address this as well.

Polycom struggles (and then gets acquired) as Cisco turns up the heat in 2012. Video is becoming an increasingly more important part of unified communications. The price points on video are also starting to fall, as there are more video options available today than ever before. Over time, it will become harder for a stand-alone point product vendor like Polycom to compete, but the company’s assets would be a great addition to a larger vendors suite. This rumor has been kicked around a few times now but I expect 2012 to be the year.

The rise of sessions and tablets, Microsoft-Skype, Cisco’s new focus, and more.

Every year seems like a big year news-wise for the UC market and 2011 didn’t disappoint. There were some major news items, including the passing of the legendary Steve Jobs and AT&T announcing the intention to acquire T-Mobile, and then not acquiring them–just to name a couple. Below, though, are the things that I felt were the most interesting.

Sessions trump calls. Terms such as “VoIP calls” and “IP lines” have always been pet peeves of mine. When we connect with others over IP systems we technically are not placing calls, click to dialing, video calling or anything remotely like the old TDM world. We’re establishing an IP session between two end points. Once this session is established, voice conversations can be initiated and then converted into videos or chats or moved to another device. IP Sessions provide much higher audio and video quality than any kind of circuit switched technology and allow us to do things we simply can’t do with older technology. This was the first year that I saw some of the vendors try and market to this and raise awareness of this, with Avaya being one of the more aggressive companies.

The downside of an architecture this big and grandiose is that it could be difficult for any customer to get their arms around.

As a company, Cisco is big on the concept of “architectures”. At its user conference, Cisco Live, this year, CEO John Chambers, listed the company’s top 5 priorities and among them was “architectures”. To Cisco, the concept of an architecture is to show customers how to build and manage solutions using the key technologies that Cisco and its partners provide.

A week after Cisco rolled out its Cloud Index, which measures and forecasts the growth of cloud traffic, the company launched its CloudVerse architecture. CloudVerse is intended to help its service provider and enterprise customers build and then manage and potentially connect private, hybrid and public clouds. The fundamental building blocks of CloudVerse, as listed by Cisco, are the Unifed Data Center, Cloud Applications and, of course, the Cloud Intelligent Network.

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