If you haven’t seen it already Cisco recently released a new marketing document comparing Cisco and Microsoft UC offerings. Although I would love to take this document apart piece by piece and analyze all the bullet points I found one piece of information in it that really intrigued me. From point 3:
“Cisco also provides a richer set of instant messaging capabilities, including point-to-point and group chat, offline chat, IM logging and compliance options, and persistent chat, which is included in the same client and server solution, unlike the Microsoft offering, which requires a separate client and server for persistent chat. Cisco presence solutions interoperate with Microsoft Office Communicator, IBM Sametime, and Google Talk, without the need for additional servers in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), saving cost and operational complexity.”
I found this interesting in that there is specific information in this paragraph that is contrary to the information that they supply in their own SRND documentation which only makes this statement true through omission of actual facts or at best clever wording. The first section talks about group chat and in particular it makes mention of Microsoft requiring a separate server and client. This is true but what they fail to mention is that their own group chat requires a separate database to function, which means you will require a separate server if you don’t already support PostgreSQL. From the Cisco CUCM 8.0 SRND:
“Persistent group chat requires an external database to store chat rooms and conversations. The only external database supported is PostgreSQL (see http://www.postgresql.org/). “
Next is my favorite. They go to great lengths to explain that they do not require additional servers in the DMZ. Hmmm, this is true in the sense you do not need a “server” as such but what other equipment, I wonder. From the SRND:
“ Inter-domain federation requires two explicit DNS domains to be configured, as well as a security appliance (Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance) in the DMZ to terminate federated connections with the enterprise.”
So no, you don’t require a server, what you require is proprietary hardware made by Cisco, an ASA (Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance). This is true whether you are federating with external organizations like Google Talk or internally federating with your own OCS deployment.
So two sentences, two questionable points. This is one paragraph that I believe brings the whole document into question because its hides facts about their own solution.
I see nothing wrong with companies going at it, and can understand Cisco forming the information about Microsoft in this document to make their own UC story look better (however flaky that may be). What makes me confused is that rather than use the facts about Cisco UC to make their own proposition look better they omit facts about their own solution to beef it up even more. There is some very clever use of wording in this document that if this is what it takes to make you look better, then maybe it shouldn’t have been released to begin with.
There is no denying that Cisco are good at marketing, but are they marketing fact or fiction?