Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar is the Vice President and Service Director at Nemertes Research, where he manages research operations, develops and manages...
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Irwin Lazar | September 23, 2008 |


What's Your Virtualization Strategy?

What's Your Virtualization Strategy? Virtualization was the big topic at last week's Interop event in New York City as vendors and enterprise IT architects alike tout the ability of virtualized environments to reduce costs, improve flexibility, and enable organizations to quickly deliver new services.

Virtualization was the big topic at last week's Interop event in New York City as vendors and enterprise IT architects alike tout the ability of virtualized environments to reduce costs, improve flexibility, and enable organizations to quickly deliver new services.

Virtualization was the big topic at last week's Interop event in New York City as vendors and enterprise IT architects alike tout the ability of virtualized environments to reduce costs, improve flexibility, and enable organizations to quickly deliver new services.You might be wondering to yourself "what is an article on virtualization doing here on No Jitter?". Good question. The reason is that those responsible for planning unified communications architectures need to become aware of virtualization technologies, as well as virtualization plans within their organization.

The concepts of virtualization are simple: move your organization from dedicated hardware and systems that support individual applications to an approach where all computing resources are shared. Applications don't live on specific appliances or servers, rather they exist as processes spread across multiple servers, sharing resources with a variety of different resources.

From the desktop perspective, a virtualized environment breaks the chains between devices and users, allows a user to log into a desktop or mobile device and receive their customized services regardless of location. Enterprises can further benefit from virtualization by replacing expensive, energy consuming desktop computers with thin-client terminals, in effect bringing us full circle back to a mainframe-TN3270 architecture.

So how does virtualization impact UC? Let's first look at the desktop impact.

Many enterprises are moving forward with plans to deliver unified communications capabilities based on a real-time communications dashboard (RTCD) such as Avaya OneX Desktop, Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, IBM Lotus Sametime, Microsoft Office Communicator, Nortel MCS, or any one of a number of similar products from other vendors. How these clients will be used will vary by organization. On one end of the spectrum is simply to use a RTCD to track presence and initiate communications. In effect the desktop client becomes the uber-buddy list, interconnected with existing or planned applications to initiate phone calls, instant messaging sessions, or audio/web/video conferences.

The more innovative approach is to take advantage of the ability to use these clients as softphones or video end-points, using codecs built into these clients to process voice and/or video streams. As Microsoft noted during its much-discussed keynote at VoiceCon spring last year, moving voice/video processing onto the PC offers the potential to reduce capital costs for UC by up to 50% versus an approach based on dedicated hardware such as IP phones and/or video end-points.

And thus we arrive at the potential for disconnect. What happens if your UC plans, based on pushing voice/video processing onto the PC, aren't in sync with your organization's virtualization strategy based on thin-clients with all processing occurring in a virtualized server environment? Will the additional delay introduced by routing voice/video traffic to a distant data center introduced unacceptable user quality?

Nemertes recently found that the overwhelming majority of end-user organizations have not yet addressed the challenge of integrating virtualization and UC, with just 5% of IT executives participating in our recent Unified Communications and Collaboration benchmark already integrating UC and virtualization planning.

Fortunately, a number of vendors are merging virtualization and UC into innovative new products. Mitel and Sun recently introduced Mitel Unified IP Client for Sun Ray," a set of integrated appliances that combine Mitel unified-communications applications with Sun's SunRay desktop virtualization services. Via Java-based access cards, users can access telephony and desktop services via any Mitel Sun Ray-enabled device. NEC, through an OEM agreement with Wyse, offers a thin-client device with on-board digital signal processing capabilities to support voice and video. Users can simply plug a headset or web cam directly into the thin client. Citrix and Cisco are testing methods for using Cisco web-based telephony & video solutions with virtualized desktops.

As the worlds of UC and virtualization collide, IT architects would be wise to ask both their UC partners, as well as their counterparts in server and desktop planning groups "What's your virtualization strategy?"


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September 26, 2018

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March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.