Archive for March 2012

On Thursday March 15th, Cisco announced its intent to acquire privately held, U.K.-based NDS for $5 billion in cash – the company’s largest acquisition since it paid $3.4 billion for Tandberg back in early 2010.

The NDS Group makes software that is used to develop interactive applications for the secure delivery of TV content and other entertainment to TVs, set top boxes, mobile phones, tablets and other endpoints. The acquisition will complement and speed up the delivery of the company’s “Videoscape” platform that enables service providers, cable companies and other media companies to deliver advanced entertainment experiences.

Being in my mid 40s automatically makes me a fan of 80s music. There was a Bonnie Tyler song that had lyrics that went “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the Gods? Where’s the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?”

Despite her incredibly bad 80s hair, it was a pretty good song and reminds me a lot of my IT days back in the 90s. We were those white knights on steeds and were viewed as the all-knowing, all-powerful IT group – The Q (Star Trek reference) of our generation. Now, the dirty little IT secret was that we engineered it to be that way. IT procured all the devices, all the applications and controlled the entire end-to-end experience. If a user experienced a problem, IT could ride in on its steed and quickly solve the problem because IT owned the entire lifecycle of the application, so troubleshooting, while difficult, was doable.

Cisco as a server vendor! Ha!

Remember back when the company first unveiled its “Unified Computing System” (UCS)? At the time, the thought of Cisco being in the server market seemed almost laughable. But, this was a journey that we had seen before. Similar guffawing was heard when Cisco jumped into the voice market. Way back in the day, when I was in internal IT, Cisco acquired its way into the VoIP market and rode the IP wave to market leadership in only about a decade. When you think about how, historically, extremely difficult voice share was to gain, the fact that Cisco managed to grab as much share as it did, and as fast as it did, was remarkable.

Getting into the hot video market is important for Avaya, both to battle Cisco and as it approaches its IPO.

Update: Avaya announced Thursday that it has concluded the deal to acquire Radvision for $230 million.

The rumors are back! Avaya is once again rumored to be acquiring Radvision but it looks like there are some teeth to the scuttlebutt this time. Globes, one of Israel’s business news sources, is reporting that Avaya is set to buy Radvision for $225 to $250 million. Globes also rightly points out that Radvision has struggled mightily since Cisco dumped Radvision in favor of its own infrastructure via the acquisition of Tandberg. At the time, Cisco was easily Radvision’s biggest customer, so losing them came as quite a blow to the company. To me it seems obvious that the Zisapel brothers, who control Radvision, just do not have the vision to take the company to the next level, or really any level other than where it is now, so a takeout would seem to make sense.

Consumerization and BYOD are all the rage today. It’s tough to discuss anything with an IT leader without this topic rearing its ugly head.

To combat the issues that stem from BYOD, many IT departments have turned to mobile device management or some sort of solution that goes on the end point. While this solves some of the BYOD challenges, it doesn’t solve all of them, nor does it scale easily since it requires touching every device that comes into the company. In my opinion, the most scalable way to address BOYD is through the network, as it sees all and touches all.

This was the basis of Extreme’s “Intelligent Mobile Edge” launch, which includes wired switches, wireless infrastructure and identity management software – all core components of supporting BYOD. Extreme’s solution is designed to help companies with the challenges of allowing workers to bring their own devices into the work place.

Aerohive’s product allows Apple products such as iPads and iPhones to access AirPrint and AirPlay functions across multi-subnet networks.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about Aruba’s bring-your-own-device play. Well, last week it was another wireless LAN vendor, this time innovative startup Aerohive, that made a BYOD-oriented announcement. Aerohive announced it has added functionality to enable the passing of Apple’s Bonjour protocol to traverse network segments.

Aerohive’s product, aptly named the “Bonjour Gateway”, allows Apple products such as iPads and iPhones to access AirPrint and AirPlay functions across multi-subnet networks. For you non-network engineers out there, what this allows is for users to connect their Apple devices to things like Apple TV and Apple-enabled printers even when they aren’t on the same network segment.

AMD’s $334 million purchase of microserver vendor SeaMicro threatens to disrupt the status quo in the server market. Look for AMD to be aggressive with microservers as it tries to upset Intel’s near-monopolistic apple cart.

Late last week, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced its intent to purchase leading microserver start-up SeaMicro for $334 million, about $280 million of which will be cash. This acquisition is the first big move for AMD’s new CEO, Rory Read, and it’s a good one as it makes AMD a bona fide provider of data center and cloud computing servers. I like the move because it provides a strong platform to help AMD compete as the server market transitions into its next generation.



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