Whether your business that has a handful of servers or hundreds of server racks, until fairly recently they were all managed the same way: server by server, one application to one server.
Virtualization has changed all of that. With virtualization, you can allocate applications across servers. You can more easily balance workloads across hardware and better adapt to peak usage and maintenance schedules. In the event of a hardware failure, applications can be quickly migrated to another server in the environment and resume operation. You don’t need redundant hardware—overall savings on hardware and management can be significant, which is why virtualization has been a dominant trend in IT for the last several years.
But there has been one major holdout in the virtualization game: communications. You might have virtualized your other applications, but you kept your communications separate and apart.
That’s because, initially at least, virtualization software—solutions like VMWare’s vSphere and Citrix’s XenServer—could not adequately support real-time communications. They could handle non-real time applications (e.g., voicemail ) but for real time services like call control, conferencing and call center applications the quality was simply not there.
Now that’s changed. Enhancements to virtualization hypervisors have opened the door to fully virtualized unified communications platforms. This is a big deal, particularly for midsize companies. In the past, midsize companies were forced to choose between single-server communications solutions designed for small companies or much larger, multi-server solutions designed for enterprises—in effect, having to under-buy or over-buy.
Now, through virtualization, the midsize company has a way to move into advanced communications and collaboration, without being forced to over-buy. Midsize companies can buy virtualized modules of unified communications services deployed in turnkey appliances with separate partitions for each service. They can select only the services that they need, and if their needs change, new modules can be activated on the appliance without additional hardware costs.
The Avaya Aura Solution for Midsize Enterprise (ME) is typical of the new unified communications solutions that take advantage of virtualization. It provides a centralized, enterprise-wide architecture for up to 2400 users (up to 250 remote locations) with common management for all kinds of collaboration—mobile, voice, video, instant messaging and presence—and support for extended applications such as Avaya Aura® Contact Center, Avaya Aura® Conferencing and AvayaLive™ Engage.
The complete base system is one server. Even with additional application servers for advanced applications, virtualization is a key reason why Avaya Aura ME is up to 16% less expensive per user compared to competitors (based on Avaya internal testing–measured at 400 users).
Faster and less costly than installing everything separately, the solution uses the Avaya System Platform application to simplify the installation and maintenance procedures. System Platform runs multiple Avaya Aura applications on a modified Citrix Xen hypervisor on a Linux platform.
Set-up is streamlined through the use of pre-defined templates (e.g., enter IP addresses once for all solutions) simplifying desktop management and speeding deployment. Overall, streamlined administration can result in 75% less time required for system maintenance. Virtualization also means significantly less power and cooling required compared to traditional deployments.
Virtualization is not for everyone. That’s why Avaya also offers a non-virtualized solution: Avaya IP Office. On a single server platform, IP Office can grow from serving a handful of users to up to 1000 users at up to 32 locations. It’s designed to be easy-to-administer and deliver desktop communications capabilities right to a smartphone or tablet, including integrated e-mail and voice mail, instant messaging, presence and conferencing. You can meet the needs of individual users in your company by adding targeted software applications designed for office workers, mobile workers, home/teleworkers, customer service agents and more.
So, if you are ready to take the plunge with virtualization, there has never been a better time with a solution like Avaya Aura ME. If you are still more comfortable with a single-server solution that is simple to manage and offers easy growth to up to 1,000 users, Avaya IP Office can fit the bill. Read “Getting Mobile Collaboration Right: A Guide for Midsize Enterprise” at http://www.avaya.com/usa/solution/mobile-collaboration for more information on these 2 winning options. Be sure to check out our website: at www.primetelecommunications.com !