Cisco Launches Next Volley in its Video Content Strategy
On the heels of the media unveiling of the Cisco Cius, Cisco Systems now plans to launch its Enterprise Content Delivery System, or ECDS. The VAR Guy has seen much movement in the video content and delivery space, with Cisco doing a good part of the shimmying. Is Cisco working to meld its video collaboration and video content management into one big happy technology? Read on for a bit of perspective …
ECDS is designed to optimize the video content that gets streamed across a company’s network, allowing IT admins to monitor, tweak, shape and handle the amount of traffic needed for high-quality video. That content can be anything from in-house-produced videos to videos taken from the web to video collaboration sessions — if it’s video and runs over the network, ECDS is designed to handle it.
ECDS provides a way to deal with video over WAN, manage third-party video systems and shape traffic for non-video applications and data. By shuffling traffic for both planned and on-the-fly video content, ECDS can ensure video content will be free of delay and garbled pixelation problems that are common with other video systems, according to Cisco.
ECDS also can adjust traffic direction to ensure no single network takes on too much of the video-streaming load. If, for example, a company is streaming an event from its headquarters to its 10 users in a remote office, the ECDS sends only one video stream (rather than 10 individual streams), and then “pushes” that stream to the 10 users once it gets to the branch office. ECDS can even cache video when needed if real-time communication isn’t the focus. Hmm, very cool, Cisco.
The VAR Guy remembers Cisco announcing a similar technology in 2010 — the Cisco MXE (Media Experience Engine) family of network appliance designed to discover, connect, record, enrich and deliver video. The ECDS sounds like complimentary technology to the MXE.
ECDS includes the Cisco Media Delivery Engine 1100 and 3100, for 500 to 5,000 users respectively, and a virtual blade that can support 200 users as long as it’s deployed on a Cisco WAAS appliance. All units work together, and all have the power to deal with traffic from the most demanding video sessions, even Cisco TelePresence. The VAR Guy is happy to note that mobile tablet devices including the Cisco Cius are supported by the ECDS system, and third-party tablets (think WebEx on iPad) are also supported.
The starting price for an ECDS system is $4,395 — not exactly chump change for companies not fully into video yet. Cisco obviously sees a future in video, however, and The VAR Guy has an interesting angle to think about: If your enterprise customers are dropping in an ECDS, they also may be interest in deploying the Cius, or vice versa. The VAR Guy thinks there are pockets of opportunity for the ECDS in the high-end video marketplace and they’re worth going after.