CiscoLiveKevin McLaughlin did a lengthy story over on CRN.com in May about how Unified Communications is the “next big thing”, and while his reasoning is sound, including his observation that Cisco is leading the pack, I would argue that we’ve passed the tipping point with this technology. There are a couple reasons I would make this assertion, including the maturity of the software, the availability of support and resources from the vendors, and the increasing number of “pre-validated” or “appliance” builds out there and available for customer use. 

As one of the VCE parent companies, we have a vested interested in not just selling more UCS and Nexus gear (although that’s great too!) but also in providing the best, most supported, most stable environment for all of their fantastic software platforms.  Cisco Unified Communication and the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Suite are two of the more popular, and as part of the VCE solutions development effort I’m pleased to give you a preview of a couple announcements we’ll be making at Cisco Live 2011 next week!

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imageCisco Unified Communications

Cisco Unified Communications has been the standard in enterprise VOIP for years, and continues to drive innovation, new features, convergence and scale into the market.  With their laundry list of applications and solutions, Cisco can address many of the internal and external communication challenges that companies face, including:

  • Connect co-workers, partners, vendors, and customers with the information and expertise they need.
  • Access and share video on the desktop, on the road, and on-demand, as easily as making a phone call
  • Facilitate better team interactions, dynamically bringing together individuals, virtual workgroups, and teams
  • Make mobile devices extensions of the corporate network so mobile workers can be productive anywhere
  • Innovate across the value chain by integrating collaboration and communications into applications and business processes

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Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution

The Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution provides many of the same features, but does so in the context of services providers looking to leverage a multi-tenant framework.  With an incredible management, automation and orchestration package, HCS is a fully integrated toolset for service providers to offer the power of Cisco UC to customers in a services-based model. 

For end-users, HCS is a way to get access to all of the Cisco UC goodness on an OpEx basis, while potentially lowering the CapEx outlay that would be otherwise possible.  The ability to choose a provider and choose the services and options that are required, Cisco HCS can be a powerful offering for both end-user and service provider.

In partnership with Cisco, VCE is pleased to present the latest in our pre-tested, pre-validated solutions, Both Cisco Unified Communications on Vblock and Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution on Vblock will be made publically available at Cisco Live 2011, and I’ll be in the VCE booth and theater to talk to customers and SP partners about how these solutions can help them.  What makes these solutions unique?

  • Full sync with and support from the Cisco UC and HCS product development roadmap
  • The ability to order UC and HCS specific Vblock configurations to simplify the acquisition of the infrastructure
  • Coordination between VCE manufacturing, delivery and Cisco VTG Advanced Services to make sure everything gets implemented smoothly
  • Fully integrated support between VCE and the world-class Cisco Voice TAC to provide seamless support for infrastructure and software!
  • Unique purchasing and financing models delivered through VCE to enable adoption on a scale that makes sense to the customer

As with all VCE solutions, there are a lot of things that have happened in the background to make these public.  Multiple lab teams, great project management, lots of engineers talking to customers, the marketing and tech writing teams and the fantastic UC and HCS product teams inside the Cisco Voice Technology Group have all worked overtime to sync these solutions with the Cisco product roadmaps, and everyone deserves a huge amount of credit.  There are too many people to name without missing someone important, so I won’t try, but it’s been a great team to work with.

If either of these solutions gets you excited, please find me at Booth #1571 and let me know how you think you might be able to do more with a Vblock!  I’ll be presenting the overview of these two solutions at the following times:

Monday, July 11th at 5:15pm
Tuesday, July 12th at 11:45am, 1:15pm, 3:30pm
Wednesday, July 13th at 11:45pm 3:45pm,
Thursday, July 14th at 12:00pm

I’ll also be participating in a video-based bloggers panel on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30pm so I’m sure I can work something about UC/HCS in there as well!  I’m very excited about the show and hope you get to join us!

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