Wednesday, July 15, 2009

DirectAccess and Forefront UAG plus IPv6

For those who are watching the happenings in Microsoft's DirectAccess solution the most interesting news as of late is from the Forefront Unified Access Gateway product group. They announced at the end of last month the availability of a UAG DirectAccess solution.
I participated in one of the Microsoft MVP LiveMeeting session on it and I think the most compelling part of using UAG for DirectAccess is the easy of provisioning the solution. They have a nice wizard driven deployment set up which I think will make getting DirectAccess up and going much easier. The nice part is that they handle setting up the NAT-PT (NAT64) and other transition tunneling needed to get the solution up and working.
I downloaded the beta and will be trying it out next week at our office. We just finished rolling out native IPv6, IPv6 routing and even got IPv6 working over Cisco DMVPN. We have Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04 all working on IPv6 and we even have our Cisco Communication Manager and IP handsets working on IPv6 now.
With the addition of the UAG DirectAccess we will have a complete solution that also integrates Microsoft OCS and MOC with our Cisco Unified Communications infrastructure. Pretty cool stuff.
- Ed

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cisco TSS - Soft Skills are key to success

This morning we had a Cisco Technology Solution Specialist (TSS) WebEx meeting going over things related to the TSS program. It seems that Cisco want to put all the TSS folks through two sets of training. Apparently we need to work on "Soft Skills" - which seems to imply that they want engineers out selling and closing deals at a higher volume in the current marketplace.

The economy is dictating this I think and it seems that presentation, quoting and closing are the most important skills for an engineer right now (outside of the engineering part.) Being able to engage and move through those three items without the need for account managers to be involved is becoming more important. This also allows for more feet on the street selling. AM's being pure hunters and SE's presenting solutions, quoting and often closing the deals.

Given how technical a sale for networking, storage, unified communications and security are this makes a lot of sense so I am looking forward to the training.
I wonder if Microsoft is making similar investments in their elite partner engineering sales force?
- Ed

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ed Horley is a Microsoft MVP still

Well, I am happy to report that I still have my Microsoft MVP status. Many thanks to my MVP Lead Jake Grey and all the other wonderful Microsoft MVP staff who make the whole program possible. I deeply appreciate the award and recognition that Microsoft has shown to me.
I am hoping to hear that some of my other colleagues might be getting some good news and that others will be returning too.
- Ed