Cisco, Microsoft: Friends or Foes?
It’s no secret that Cisco and Microsoft are on a collision course in the unified communications and security markets. The VAR Guy gives both companies credit for ensuring interoperability between their respective network access control technologies–which prevent infected systems from accessing network resources. But Cisco earns extra points in The VAR Guy’s book.
For starters, Cisco’s Network Admission Control (NAC) technology is real and widely available today. Microsoft’s alternative Network Access Protection (NAP) software won’t be fully baked until Windows Longhorn Server ships in late 2007. Let’s do some quick math: Major customers won’t likely begin widespread Longhorn deployments until mid-2008. So Cisco NAC will have at least a two-year lead over Microsoft NAP.
Cisco and Microsoft were all smiles in Boston on Wednesday when they demonstrated NAC/NAP interoperability. But keep a close eye on this partnership. Previous Cisco/Microsoft developments didn’t work out so well. Nearly a decade ago, Cisco vowed to port Microsoft’s Active Directory to Unix but nothing ever came of the work, The VAR Guy recalls.
Chances are the NAC/NAP partnership will proceed as intended. But NAP is a technology waiting for an operating system. And we all know how long Microsoft has kept us waiting for Vista and Longhorn.