Archive for October 2015

Bolstering its effort to position the network as a security tool, Cisco acquired network visibility company Lancope.

Enterprise IT has gone through many major shifts over the past several decades. The industry currently sits in the midst of another major transformation as more and more businesses are striving to become digital organizations. The building blocks of the digital era are technologies like cloud computing, mobility, virtualization, and software defined networking, which are significantly different than legacy technologies.

With each of these UC players poised to grow share on its own, a consolidation seems premature.

As reported on No Jitter and elsewhere, activist investor and hedge fund manager Elliott Management earlier this month disclosed it holds equity positions of about $100 million in Mitel and Polycom — and wants the companies to merge. On paper, Elliott’s idea makes some sense… but logically, not so much, not right now.

But we must take its interest in seeing these UC peers merge quite seriously. When it comes to shaking up the tech industry, Elliott has had as much impact as any organization. In case you’re not familiar with Elliott, you should know that the company played a significant role in the recent Dell-EMC merger, was the party responsible for taking Riverbed private, and currently has a 6.2% stake in Juniper Networks.

Dell’s expensive acquisition of EMC recalls a time when tech companies joined together to take on competitors.

Remember the BUNCH? No, not the Brady Bunch or the Fun Bunch from when the Redskins were good, but the mainframe BUNCH from the 70s. The acronym was the nickname for all of IBM’s mainframe competitors. IBM was, by far, the most dominant mainframe vendors and, because of this, the other competitors – Burroughs, UNIVAC, NCR, Control Data Corporation, and Honeywell – were “bunched” together.

Polycom’s impressive new videoconferencing solution brings yet another Star Trek technology to life.

If you’ve read my blog over the years, it should be easy to surmise that I’m a big fan of the TV show Star Trek. Given that the show was filmed in the 60s, the amount of technology it portrayed that has become a reality is remarkable. The show had voice-activated computers, and now we have Siri. It had immersive video, we have telepresence. It had communicators, we have push-to-talk phones. The list goes on and on. While I’m still waiting for warp drive, today at an event in New York, Polycom unveiled a new video solution called Centro that was designed to improve the effectiveness of meeting rooms.

New products aimed at supporting natural collaboration styles could help businesses get more value from meeting spaces.

In August I wrote this No Jitter post discussing the challenges associated with physical meeting spaces and then followed that up with another article in which I debated this topic with Rob Portwood, managing director and owner of Videocall, a U.K.-based systems integrator and service provider. The theme of these blogs was that although the industry has done a nice job with the evolution of virtual collaboration tools, physical space evolution has lagged way behind. For all intents and purposes, the dynamics of huddle rooms, meeting rooms and other meeting spaces are the same as they were decades ago.

This week Polycom held an event in New York to celebrate its 25-year anniversary. At the shindig, the company unveiled a number of innovative new solutions to help evolve physical meeting spaces. While the products were each quite different, they were designed to help organizations maximize the effectiveness of a meeting space — from small huddle rooms up to large conference rooms. Here’s a closer look at the products that I felt were the most meaningful:

Arista Networks announced Macro-Segmentation Services (MSS), a new capability for its CloudVision product.

Five years ago, almost all of the traffic in a data center moved in a North-South direction. Traffic moved from one server through the different tiers of a network, passed through the core, and then up to another server. Enabling security and application optimization services with this model was fairly simple. Put a big, honking firewall or ADC in the core of the network and all traffic would pass through these devices.

I moderated a workshop on the topic of software defined WANs (SD-WAN) last month and I’m continually baffled that the focus of software-defined networking remains on the hardware for so many individuals. This is clearly a hangover from the early days of SDN when many of the start ups were hammering home the point that hardware is expensive and businesses should move to a software-defined model and cut capital costs.

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