The magic word these days for buying network products is SMB. If you're in a small or medium-sized business, you've been bombarded the last in the last few weeks by a dizzying array of new products and services, many of them offering the kinds of capabilities previously only available to large enterprises.
The 800-pound gorilla of the networking world, Cisco, led the way with a new line of switches and services for small and medium sized businesses aimed at helping companies with 100 to 1000 employees deploy converged voice, video and data networks.
Released were entry-level versions of the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series of modular switches, including the new Supervisor II-Plus-TS that allows for integrated connectivity to servers, wireless access points, IP phones, printers or users. Also rolled out were Catalyst 4948 fixed switches optimized for server aggregation, and the Cisco Network Assistant, software that offers centralized management of Cisco SMB-Class networks to help simplify deployment and on-going maintenance.
The key here is that Cisco is taking the kinds of products previously targeted at world-spanning enterprises, and gearing them to SMBs at significantly lower prices. Cisco is doing more than just lower the price point, though. It's also making the products easier to deploy and manage, because small businesses don't have the big IT staffs prevalent in larger companies.
The release is part of a continuing effort by Cisco aimed at small and medium sized businesses. Cisco officials say the company expects to target $2 billion in spending over the next two years at the market, and plans to deliver a total of 30 products for it in 2005.