After not one, not two, but three posts on hybrid options for Microsoft Skype for Business Online's Cloud PBX service, it's more than time to look at hybrid scenarios for other UC solutions. This week Avaya released an IP Office platform update that involves hybrid cloud deployment models, so let's start there.
Avaya bills IP Office as its midmarket UC platform, but scalability now reaching to 3,000 lines places it well into what I consider the enterprise market. And in addition to the premises-based platform it's always been, IP Office is now the underlying platform for hosted UC services from a number of providers. The point being that changes to IP Office don't only affect SMBs with telephony systems onsite, but also can impact midmarket organizations and enterprises considering a cloud-based UC service, a premises-based system, or -- in the case of hybrid -- both.
This time around the changes come in Release 10 (R10) of the IP Office software. R10 includes hunt group capacity increases, clients and API enhancements, and other things you can read about in today's No Jitter post, "Avaya Releases R10 for IP Office."
It also includes a hybrid configuration option, the details of which we'll delve into here.
Previously IP Office could split workloads between systems that a business deployed on premises and on servers residing in data center space that the company set up. So there's been a hybrid option, but only for private cloud scenarios. R10 extends this to public cloud scenarios as well. This is where IP Office systems deployed on premises work in conjunction with a hosted IP Office service from a third-party provider.
(Incidentally, if this is sounding a bit familiar, it's because Avaya essentially pre-announced the hybrid capabilities back in February. I wrote a bit about that announcement for No Jitter here, and industry analyst Sandra Gustavsen did a nice write-up of it on TalkingPointz. But it's only with R10, which becomes generally available this week, that those hybrid options become generally available.)
Hybrid Scenarios for IP Office
So what are the scenarios possible with a hybrid IP Office solution? Typical ones include:
Each of these scenarios assumes a few things. First, the IP Office servers on the business's premises and in the partner's data center need to be running the R10 code. As mentioned, it's R10 that introduces the hybrid cloud capability. So no 10, no hybrid.
Second, the IP Office server in the provider's data center is dedicated to the business subscribing to the service. This is because the hosted IP Office solution Avaya sells to its partners is based on a multi-instance, not multitenant, architecture.
Third, the provider is hosting IP Office Select if the business is depending on the hybrid deployment to provide resiliency. This is because R10 lets customers (or in this case the provider offering the hosted service) replicate an IP Office server across multiple data centers.
Fourth, the business is subscribing to a provider's Powered by Avaya service, not Avaya's OnAvaya – Google Cloud Platform service. This is a temporary restriction, since OnAvaya is expected to support hybrid configurations as early as this fall. But for the time being only Powered services support hybrid. (For more on the difference between Powered By Avaya and OnAvaya services, see my earlier post.)
Finally, the business finds an Avaya partner whose hosted IP Office service supports one or more of these hybrid scenarios. Not all providers of hosted IP Office services are offering hybrid as an option. And of those that are, not all are offering hybrid as a backup/resiliency option.
And the big question, I suppose, is if any of this is actually taking off. Both TelAgility and Carousel -- the only two providers I spoke to for this blog -- said they have customers not only subscribing to their hosted IP Office services, but also embracing hybrid cloud configurations. I get the impression that these are mostly existing Avaya customers migrating from a premises to hosted model. But in one case there was talk of a government organization with thousands of users transitioning from Unify PBXs to a hosted IP Office service.
So assuming Avaya's midmarket business weathers whatever tempest the possible divestitures raise, hosted IP Office services could prove an attractive option for businesses counting their UCaaS options.