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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 technology.

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 WAAS solution."

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.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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