Archive for 2011

Having Skype allows Microsoft to be more aggressive pushing UC and VoIP in the cloud.

Microsoft has confirmed that it is planning to buy Internet phone company Skype for over $8 billion ($7 billion plus over a billion in debt). It will be the largest acquisition Microsoft has made, trumping the $6 billion that Microsoft paid for online ad company, aQuantive, back in 2007.

So does the deal make sense or is it a desperate attempt to gain on Google in the Internet markets? There’s a tremendous amount of hype around Skype right now based on many events from the past few months. Longtime Cisco executive, Tony Bates, became the CEO, an IPO has been expected and there have been rumors of joint ventures with both Google and/or Facebook, so Microsoft could be making the move for defensive measures rather than offensive ones.

Fabrics are all the rage today with data center archtiects and solution providers. Last year, at Brocade’s annual “Tech Day” analyst conference, the company unveiled its fabric strategy. This week at this years Tech Day, Brocade added to its fabric vision with the addition of its “CloudPlex” architecture. CloudPlex is Brocade’s open framework for organizations to build virtualized or cloud based data centers. Technically CloudPlex brings Brocade’s network and storage technologies together into a single, converged system.

From a vision perspective, CloudPlex will enable the merging of public, private and hybrid clouds through the open integration of compute, storage and networking blocks. The actual “unit” of service from the CloudPlex is a virtual compute block.

To simplify it, what CloudPlex does is it allows organizations to build multivendor, open virtual data centers and cloud infrastructures that are delivered in virtual “blocks” of data center resources. This would allow for movement of compute resources to be synchronized with the necessary network configuration changes. This is necessary to deliver on the vision of a virtual data center.

This week kicked off Alcatel-Lucent’s Dynamic Enterprise Tour in Barcelona, Spain. The keynote was given by ALU Enterprise President, Tom Burns, and introduced the tag line “Changing the conversation”.  Changing the conversation has many different meanings and includes having customers look at alternatives to the market leaders in voice communications and data networking, changing the way workers collaborate with one another, changing the tools we use to communicate and lastly, changing the way companies converse with customers.

The overall vision that Burns gave wasn’t all that much different from what you might see in an Avaya or Cisco keynote except for one exception — Burns dedicated much of the keynote to using unified communications (which now includes social media) to change the way companies interact with customers and improve the overall customer experience. In fact, the following two keynotes, one by ALU Enterprise Application Group chief, Paul Segre and then an outstanding presentation by Kevin Panozza, CEO of Engagement Mattes an Australian based call center firm focused on this theme. Panozza’s keynote was almost exclusively focused on how to build a better customer experience.



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