Cisco Makes Unified Access Case

Michael Vizard

To one degree or another, mobile and cloud computing combined are exacerbating an already fractious IT management environment. Too many IT organizations already have a plethora of IT management tools in place. The addition of mobile and cloud computing applications only winds up adding more tools to an already noxious mix.

At the Interop 2012 conference today, Cisco moved to address that specific issue with the introduction of its Unified Access initiative that pulls together network and security management across wired, wireless and virtual networks. According to Inbar Lasser-Raab, Cisco senior director for enterprise networking marketing, IT organizations need a unified set of management tools that will allow them to implement a comprehensive set of policies across one network regardless of the type of network or the number of segments involved.

To make that happen, Cisco is delivering updates to Cisco Identity Services Engine and Cisco Prime Infrastructure software that makes it easier to manage networking environments where employees are increasingly bringing their own devices to work. In addition, Cisco today unveiled a new series of wireless access points and controllers that can be used to scale a Cisco network up to 6,000 access points and are capable of supporting up to 64,000 devices.

Cisco’s Unified Access initiative cuts to the heart of a fierce debate taking place across enterprise IT. Thanks to the rise of mobile and cloud computing, the IT environment is getting more complex with each passing day. Vendors such as Cisco argue that the best way to manage that complexity is to standardize on a suite of technologies that all come from one vendor. Other vendors, however, will argue that in the long term, such approaches wind up slowing innovation and ultimately creating a dependency on one vendor that ultimately leads to higher costs because there is a lack of competition.

The truth of the matter is that both arguments are valid, so each customer will lean towards one argument or the other based on their own concerns and circumstances. That all said, maybe one day soon these two arguments won’t be as mutually exclusive as they currently seem.

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