What are some factors that enterprises should consider before deploying a virtualised UC solution?
Enterprises should look at their future plans when considering a virtualised UC solution. For example, if there are plans to reduce network real estate, grow or expand the UC platform, or even downsize the organisation, a virtualised UC environment can easily support these changes. A virtualised UC strategy will also help in managing costs, simplifying the network and consolidating technology infrastructure.
You recently launched ShoreTel 14.2, which enables companies to deploy a ShoreTel communications system in a virtual environment. How different is it from other products?
The on-premise ShoreTel UC solution is unique as it is built on a highly reliable distributed architecture designed to protect customers against any downtime. ShoreTel's native distributed architecture ensures calls do not drop and there is no downtime should a branch's hardware fail. Without dropping calls, phones automatically register to the N+1 spare server anywhere in the network. For virtual deployments, VMware HA and VMotion are also supported.
Unlike other options that force business owners to choose between deploying the entirety of their systems with either hardware-based or virtual appliances, ShoreTel's distributed architecture allows for a mix-and-match solution - all managed via a single web-based interface. With ShoreTel 14.2, customers may now select the UC deployment model that best suits their business and infrastructure needs - virtual, physical or any combination of both. The benefits are immediate: greater flexibility, reduced hardware and operational complexity, higher application availability, as well as increased scalability and reliability.
In addition, virtualisation sets the foundation for customers to consume VoIP services via on-premise, hybrid, and cloud-deployment models. After deploying an on-premise ShoreTel solution in a virtualised environment, ShoreTel customers realise a significant return of investment due to better server utilisation, energy cost savings, smaller footprint etc. Because ShoreTel server components can coexist with other non-ShoreTel applications on the same physical server, customers have reported savings of 80 percent as compared to other solutions.