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Flatten the Wares, Isn't It Obvious?
There's too much clutter in SMB/E networks. Specifically, there are too many appliances, boxes and wares of every kind creating more troubleshooting endpoint nightmares and they do contribute to unnecessary latency, wasted power consumption and higher costs. This remains my eco-friendly argument to move "stuff" over to the cloud and to consolidate onsite hardware.
There's too much clutter in SMB/E networks. Specifically, there are too many appliances, boxes and wares of every kind creating more troubleshooting endpoint nightmares and they do contribute to unnecessary latency, wasted power consumption and higher costs. This remains my eco-friendly argument to move "stuff" over to the cloud and to consolidate onsite hardware.For example- some unscrupulous people from a music-on-hold company sent my client a bogus bill to license their music for 12 months. Last year they did the same thing and didn't get paid a dime just like this year. So, telephony hardware manufacturers, listen up- users want the ability to store custom wav files for their own music and messages on hold along with delay announcements. I use GoldWave and Apple's Garage Band to manipulate customer provided scripts and owned music for the existing/traditional gear. The new kids on the block are already providing this as a feature with hosted solutions.
The extra gear associated with *M-O-H and delay-announcers wastes energy, costs more to own and maintain and takes up unnecessary space. Why allow aftermarket sales to go somewhere else? Vendors: Integrate the functionality of music/message on hold and delay announcements fully into your wares- embed them so customers don't go elsewhere. Hosted providers already do this! Need ideas on where to put them? Let's see- they are voice recordings- what device, feature set, or service stores voice recordings...?
*M-O-H (Music-on-hold) rated at 60 WATTS x 24 hrs = 1,440 X 365 days = 525,600 WATTS / 1,000 = 525.60kWh or .30919779 Barrels of crude oil per year. This is just one example of a stand-alone M-O-H industry device typically sold under a leading label.
Then, thinking about paging to external speakers and zones, I can't help wondering why the manufacturers of telephony gear don't commission paging manufacturers to create in-skin boards to replace separate amplifiers and zone controllers. Maybe the idea of convergence will start to spread and peripherals will begin to fold into new wares with the idea of being greener and a wee bit more carbon neutral.
When I wrote Convergence In the Closet, the furthest thing from my mind was replacing gear that was in and working. We saved power, cut costs, improved the network and eliminated the number of appliances we were managing. A few years later, near the end of 2007, we eliminated a secondary UPS once we started using the backup feature across the Internet instead of keeping our in-house real-time backup system online. For the SMB/E moving some things to the cloud does make sense and there will usually be trade-offs. Last year, we moved our "backup" function to Apple's online service and shed one more device from our network. The support contract for the backup system cost more than Apple's online backup solution.
Further thought: Bandwidth, it seems, will always be a trade-off. Firewalls and email security appliances use bandwidth to update signatures, provide reporting and keep the bad guys at bay. Servers, PCs and Macs (Apple Computers) use bandwidth to patch. Then, the tech guys use bandwidth to download patches, firmware upgrades, and other software. Moving some of this activity to the cloud seems at least to me a natural progression, but still very challenging. So the cloud, for argument's sake, is already being used in many ways that seem utilitarian, and getting users' applications into the cloud remains a work in progress.
The way of thinking, I believe, must change, to one of compressing and moving assets to where they make sense--given present day economic pressure, rising fuel costs, limited life supply of 'fossil fuels,' growing and difficult environmental demands placed on companies including zero footprint or carbon neutral expectations, and the ever present government regulations not just in the US, and mounting pressures from other global concerns besides our own. Not forgetting the mounting tensions between network service providers, FCC regulations (existing and proposed) and well-founded fears on paying-by-the-bit or metering the Internet leaves things in flux, while I'm hoping for reduction of interconnected flux density. Pun intended.