Pej Roshan, Vice President of Product Management, ShoreTel
Given today's availability of the necessary infrastructure and knowledge to support virtualised unified communications (UC), enterprises should move towards virtualising their UC systems, said Pej Roshan, ShoreTel's Vice President of Product Management. He talks about the benefits of doing so, the factors to consider before deploying virtualised UC solutions, and if Asian enterprises are ready to adopt a virtualised UC model.
Why is there a need to virtualise unified communications today?
Unified communications (UC) is an area of business that was traditionally not a focus for virtualisation due to the lack of available technology. However, businesses today have the option to virtualise much of their UC technology to add additional redundancy and availability to their infrastructure while reducing costs and providing additional capacity. A virtualised environment will also often provide additional technology features and functions while making it easier to scale up and down.
Virtualised UC is most suitable for businesses that have multiple sites and more than 100 users. This is because the infrastructure involved in supporting this number of users has reached a tipping point of complexity. At the same time, users in organisations of this size expect high service levels and flexibility; they want options when it comes to deploying technology, which is one of the key benefits of a virtualised UC model.
If an organisation has already invested in UC hardware, ShoreTel can fit into the existing deployment, maintaining management within a single-image system. Leveraging a customer's existing virtual infrastructure reduces hardware and support cost. On the other hand, larger sites that already own numerous appliances can implement a virtual system at their primary location while redeploying existing physical appliances to remote locations.
Are enterprises in Asia ready to implement virtualised UC solutions?
Yes, multi-site organisations in Asia are more than ready to implement a virtualised UC strategy because their business needs are just as complex, and the demands to manage costs and service delivery are just as challenging as anywhere else in the world. Some might argue that the dispersed nature of doing business in Asia makes this geography even more prime to reap the benefits of virtualised UC. Therefore, we expect to see a faster uptake of this style of communications deployment in Asia than anywhere else in the world.
Should enterprises adopt a hybrid UC solution or should they go all in to deploy a fully virtualised UC solution?
It depends on the organisation, but a hybrid solution will usually deliver the most flexibility when it comes to failover and reliability. As organisations want to make sure that they maximise the benefits of a virtualised solution while minimising the risks involved in networked solutions, a hybrid model makes sense because it can provide the most security.