Cisco and Microsoft Partner for Branch Office Connectivity
On-again, off-again partners Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. -- who
nominally compete in the endpoint security space (Microsoft touts a NAC vision
of its own) and business telephony segments (Microsoft has made an aggressive
incursion into a segment that Cisco itself hopes to dominate) -- are as cozy
as ever again
The vendors touted a new and inevitably to-be-delivered offering based on Redmond's
forthcoming Windows Server 2008 operating system and Cisco's WAN optimization
The joint offering, which is intended for branch office environments, will
use Cisco's Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) appliance family to help customers
host Windows Server 2008 services at branch office locations. These services
include Domain Name System (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP),
Active Directory and Print Services.
Part of the special sauce for doing so will come from a virtualization component
that Cisco will embed in its WAAS appliances. The two companies plan for Cisco
to offer Windows Server 2008 preinstalled on its virtualized Cisco WAAS appliances,
which are slated to become available later this year. Cisco and Microsoft have
also pledged to work together to help educate channel resellers and customers
about the integrated solution.
"Extending our collaboration with Cisco to integrated solutions for branch
offices presents an exciting opportunity for our customers and for Microsoft
and Cisco," said Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's Server
and Tools Business division, in a statement. "The technologies announced
today will help boost performance and availability by making critical Windows
Server 2008 services available to remote offices through integration with Cisco's
The integrated solution will provide an optimized architecture for joint Cisco
and Microsoft customers, the two companies say. By integrating Cisco WAN optimization
with Windows Server 2008, customers can improve branch end user performance
for accessing centralized data centers and applications, while efficiently deploying
Windows Server 2008 services locally.
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.