Archive for 2012

Cisco wants to be a platform company; but is it willing to let its ecosystem take center stage?

I recently ran across this blog by Cisco’s Jennifer Falasca on the “new” Cisco Developer Network (CDN) website. The blog is certainly interesting, as it describes the structure of the program and its value, but it did get me wondering: What’s new about this particular version of CDN versus previous instantiations?

Before I get into that, a bit of history of where CDN has been, to give some perspective on where my thoughts are coming from. Over the past decade, I’ve had a great deal of interest in the CDN.

This morning Brocade announced it would acquire privately held open source networking software company Vyatta. The rise of software defined networks seems to be a legitimate problem the Vyatta solution can solve. Founded back in 2005, Vyatta has struggled to find a use case for its virtual routing capabilities over the years, remaining a niche company used by network engineers who like to experiment on the network. I’ve always said the branch router segment of Cisco’s business might be the most difficult market share to cut into, as the Integrated Services Router (ISR) is the de facto standard branch router.

The solution includes not just access points and controllers but also management software.

This morning Enterasys, a Siemens Enterprise Communications Company, announced its next generation WiFi solution, called “IdentiFi”. The IdentiFi solution is the wireless portion of the company’s integrated wired and wireless story called OneFabric.

With this launch, Enterasys, like so many other WiFi solution providers, is trying to capitalize on the opportunity created with the rapid consumerization of the enterprise.

In honor of today being Halloween I thought I would write a blog dedicated to the horror and grim nature that the day brings. Here are a few people and companies -past and present – that make the “all Halloween” list of technology names.

 

Monster.com

Born in the mid 90s, monster.com was a real pioneer in marrying job search with the Internet era. Monster has now become the de facto standard for job searching and has created almost unlimited job opportunities to people who would have had no way of finding jobs previously. I think back to the early 90s when I moved from Victoria, BC, to Baltimore MD, the only reason I knew about the job was because a friend of mine at UUNet managed to fax me the job postings from the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post. Oh, how Monster.com changed the world. 

On Monday, October 29th (Hurricane Sandy day!), Riverbed announced its intention to purchase one of the APM market leaders, Opnet, for a shade under a billion dollars ($43/share), which represents about a 30% premium over OPNET’s current market cap. To finance the deal, Riverbed will use some debt being financed by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. OPNET will do a shade under $200 million this year, which, when combined with Riverbed’s expected $834, will push Riverbed over the billion-dollar revenue mark for the first time in its history.

This should be a great acquisition for Riverbed as the Opnet products will nicely complement the products in the company’s Cascade business unit. Riverbed jumped into the network management market after it acquired Mazu Networks in 2009 and CACE Technologies in 2010. The two combined gave Riverbed both a macro-level view (Mazu) of the network with the ability to drill down with micro-level analysis (CACE). However, as strong as the product was, its sweet spot was mid-market and below.

Why would a worker modify the way they work if the current process is working fine? Maybe changing the process might make them more productive, but who knows?

This week Siemens Enterprise Communications unveiled a study they recently did that looks at the gaps in productivity between face-to-face collaboration and virtual collaboration. The results were pretty clear and gave some statistical validity to many of the thoughts that I have had around remote collaboration from anecdotal interviews I’ve done with IT leaders on this topic.

Some of the data points from the survey are:

Earlier this week Cisco and Citrix made some noise when they announced an expanded partnership. The partnership brings together the market leader in networking and data center infrastructure and combines it with the market leader in desktop virtualization. The expanded partnership should be a “win-win-win” for both organizations and their customers, as the two companies can bring their respective strengths together to deliver greater functionality through joint development. Some partnerships are nothing more than PowerPoint integration, but this one should have some teeth. As much as I like this partnership, I’m a firm believer that Cisco should pony up the cash, stocks or whatever else it needs and actually buy Citrix.

I’ve covered Cisco for many years and I’ve long felt that Citrix would be a great acquisition for the company. Cisco has stated through the years it didn’t want to be an application vendor (although UC manager and wants to deliver infrastructure). Citrix is infrastructure, it’s just application infrastructure. Given the current trends of cloud computing, BYOD and device evolution, Citrix would certainly command a hefty premium over its current $12 billion market cap, but I still think it would be worth it. My personal belief is that if an acquisition is a good acquisition, you can’t really pay too much. For example, if Cisco had paid 10x what it did for Selsius, would anyone really care now? After all, that technology purchase eventually made Cisco the market leader in VoIP. Conversely, if an acquisition is a bad one, then you can’t pay too little. There are many examples of this so I won’t make anyone look bad by mentioning one.



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