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Extreme Networks this week announced that it has completed the qualification process for its wireless, wired, and software defined networking (SDN) products.

This week Extreme Networks announced the availability of an integrated solution for Microsoft’s Unified Communications platform, Lync. The announcement is well timed, as there is no hotter UC platform today than Lync. Over the past few years, Microsoft has been aggressively getting Lync into its customers’ hands. However, the majority of customers have been using Lync for its desktop features, such as chat, presence, and web conferencing. Over the past year or so, Microsoft has been much more aggressive in getting its customers to adopt Lync voice and video.

Today, Lync is a strong No. 2 to Cisco when considering a UC solution. In the last ZK Research Unified Communications survey, we had asked the question “Which vendor would make the short list for a UC deployment?” Cisco ranked No. 1 with 71% of the respondents and Microsoft came in second, with 51% (note: I am employed by ZK Research). No other vendor scored over 27% for consideration rate. In all likelihood, almost every large company is going to have some combination of Lync and Cisco to meet its UC needs. Lync is here to stay and Lync voice has become a viable alternative to a traditional IP PBX.

Cisco has significantly expanded its partner ecosystem, added new offerings and put some money up to help with the adoption of the services.

If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of 80s music. One of my favorite bands of that era was Split Enz, who performed a song called “One Step Ahead”. While the song was written in the 80s, it was very forward looking, as the song was about keeping ahead in the cloud race. In fact, if you listen carefully, there’s an alternate track that goes something like:

“One step ahead of you
Stay in motion, keep an open platform
Cloud is a race won by a multitude
Your service, my fabric”

To say cloud is hot is as gross an understatement as saying that Bears QB Jay Cutler is overpaid. The red hot cloud market has created a race, as every major IT vendor, systems integrator, network operator and cloud pure-play has been bolstering their cloud services and looking to get a leg up on the competition.

At Brocade’s annual investor conference in New York City, CEO Lloyd Carney and the rest of the executives did a nice job of highlighting the opportunities for the company moving forward.

This week, Brocade held its annual investor conference in New York City. New York is the obvious choice for investor events as it is filled with banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, and other financial firms. New York is also home to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who I feel is one of the most overrated players in baseball history.

However, I’ve felt for a while that Brocade is one of the most underrated network vendors in the industry today – the anti-Jeter of networking. At the event, CEO Lloyd Carney and the rest of the executives did a nice job of highlighting the opportunities for the company moving forward. While the company does have its critics, it’s obviously been doing something right as the stock has gone up about 40% in the past year.

At the event, the company highlighted the following opportunities for its continued momentum.

This week, a startup called Saisei unveiled what it calls the first product in a market known as Network Performance Enforcement.

If you read my stuff regularly, you’ll know I’m a big fan of 80s music. Back in 1983, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson did a duet called “Say Say Say” with great lyrics, like:

“Say, Say, Say, what you want,

But don’t play games with the hybrid WAN.

Take, take, take the time you need,

But make the apps run as best they can”

The theme of the song is that running the WAN is hard and creating a smooth running WAN where users aren’t griping about performance is even harder. The tasks becomes even more difficult as businesses transition to the hybrid WAN. This challenge was actually one of the reasons I wrote this post earlier this month.

The release of the Acme Packet 1100 opens the addressable market for Oracle to play small ball and go after a group of customers and locations that it could not have before.

The term “small ball” is used in baseball to describe a team that wins by doing lots of little things well. Historically, teams wait for the big inning or look for the one big swing that wins them the game. Small ball can be just as effective, though, for those that have the strategy and patience to execute. (If you’re from overseas and you’re not familiar with baseball, just know it’s a way more entertaining version of cricket with no tea served in the middle.)

In the UC space, Oracle, via its Acme Packet acquisition, has been a company that relied on swinging for the fences to grow its business. The company makes session border controllers and management tools for large enterprises and service providers. Because of this, Oracle tends to have larger deals, meaning the company typically plays long ball.

Next week is Oracle OpenWorld, and the big news is that Larry Ellison is stepping down as CEO and moving into more of an engineering role. However, there will be lots of other news from the show, including Oracle announcing the release of Acme Packet 1100 – an enterprise session border controller (E-SBC) focused on small to mid-size businesses as well as branch offices of larger organizations. The release of the 1100 opens the addressable market for Oracle to play small ball and go after a group of customers and locations that it could not have before.

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