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ShoreTel Partners with Enterasys

Trent Waterhouse, VP of marketing at Enterasys, told me that ShoreTel and Enterasys support teams will support their opposite numbers' gear, and the vendors' respective VARs will be cross-certified as well--they've already begun marketing the combined solution, according to Waterhouse.

Enterasys's strength is in larger enterprises, which is a market that ShoreTel is trying to break out in, which is what Enterasys brings to the table, according to Waterhouse.

Obviously, the overwhelming number of enterprises are going to have Cisco data networks, regardless of who they pick as their voice vendor. But many of the voice vendors that don't manufacture their own data gear now have partnered up: Avaya is with Extreme, Mitel is with Foundry, and now we have ShoreTel with Enterasys. These partnerships have differing levels of exclusivity and coordination.

The interesting technical parts of this ShoreTel-Enterasys announcement have to do with network architecture and with VOIP security. Trent Waterhouse described ShoreTel's highly distributed VOIP switching architecture as a good fit with Enterasys's model, in wihch services are defined centrally, as they are with ShoreTel, but are enforced out at the network port level.

As far as security, Trent Waterhouse emphasized the capabilities of Enterasys's Dragon product, an intrusion detection/prevention system (IDS/IPS). Enterasys announced in August last year that Dragon supported deep packet inspection of VOIP traffic, which Waterhouse said helps protect against spam over IP-telephony (SPIT), and rogue handsets and softswitches, among other things.

This announcement may not rock everyone's world, but it's got its supporters. The Enterasys press release quotes Bob Glaze, CTO of the City of Oakland, who spoke on the topic of IP Telephony in Crisis Situations at our most recent VoiceCon, in San Francisco last year. Trent Waterhouse told me that Oakland was able to afford both its new ShoreTel telephony system and a new Enterasys data network by getting rid of Centrex.