Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Cisco MCS Days are Numbered

This is probably not new news for Cisco UC/Collaboration partners. Especially those that are even remotely active in the Collaboration Community. Cisco recently announced the End of Sale / End of Life for Cisco 7800 series Media Convergence Servers (MCS). Originally, Cisco was planning to have the End of Sale (EoS) date milestone occur December 2013. However, Cisco has moved this milestone up to October 2013 as customers (and I assume distributors) have been stocking up. 

It is even possible that Cisco will sell out of all the MCS servers prior to the October EoS milestone. It is reminiscent of ticket scalping in the real world and stocking up on bottled water in a post-apocalyptic fictional drama. Makes me wonder if MCS server prices from certain distributors will sky rocket after October. I guess it doesn't matter. 

What does matter is that there won't be another generation of MCS servers. The migration plan is to go to virtual machines. After the EoS milestone, new purchases of UCM 8.x/9.x must go one of several virtualization paths. This can make things interesting for integrators and customers starting after Cisco Live in June (where I expect there will be some more announcements that lay out the 12-18 month roadmap).

Most of my customers are already going the virtual route and my team and I have been doing UC VMs for years now. However, I do have a couple of customers that have organizational obstacles which puts them in a position of saying they won't virtualize their UC environment. Fortunately, they are in the minority but every customer is important and this recent Cisco announcement should make for some interesting conversations. Still, I think this is right path for Cisco and I am actually looking forward to saying bye-bye to the MCS platform. Of course, that won't happen over night. Unfortunately. 

Thanks for reading. If you have time, post a comment!

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