Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>

Eric Krapf | August 17, 2015 |


NEC Putting Its UC and SDN Technologies Together

NEC Putting Its UC and SDN Technologies Together It turns out that the SDN model of higher-level controllers driving lower-level infrastructure elements fits nicely with the UC model.

It turns out that the SDN model of higher-level controllers driving lower-level infrastructure elements fits nicely with the UC model.

Unified Communications is becoming one of the early test beds for Software Defined Networking (SDN) concepts and technologies. It turns out that the SDN model of higher-level controllers driving lower-level infrastructure elements fits nicely with the UC model, where a call controller understands the bandwidth and QoS needs of real-time traffic. The combination of SDN and UC offers the ability to translate real-time traffic requirements into configurations that optimize the network's treatment of voice, video, and any other traffic that may need real-time handling.

Several UC and SDN vendors have announced interoperability between SDN controllers and UC call controllers, with Microsoft taking the lead by tying Lync/Skype for Business servers with SDN controllers from HP and Extreme Networks, as well as an integration with WiFi controllers from Aruba. Furthermore, network management and troubleshooting vendors like Nectar have also built products that accept data through the SDN API that can be used to drive management decisions.

There aren't many companies that actually play in both the SDN and the UC spaces, but one of them is NEC, which provides both the Univerge UC platform, and the ProgrammableFlow SDN controller, and NEC has been working on products and capabilities that leverage this synergy. I had a chance to talk with Sam Safa, Manager, Product Management at NEC Corporation of America, who described a set of functions that extends beyond just better QoS marking. NEC's UC-SDN integration can drive efficiencies in provisioning, emergency communications, and disaster recovery/resiliency, while also providing better traffic analysis that can eventually play into Big Data-driven insights, he said.

When it comes to provisioning, the UC-SDN integration allows for more efficient configuration of the underlying infrastructure, Safa explained. Instead of configuring and mapping QoS settings manually across devices, network managers can use the information generated by the API to provide information not just on QoS settings but on dynamically changing requirements. That means more efficient use of resources, since bandwidth doesn't have to be dedicated full-time for high-demand situations that may only occur sporadically; it can be re-allocated as needed.

The ability to dynamically allocate resources goes beyond just providing optimal service to business-critical real-time applications, however. It can be applied to life-critical emergency communications scenarios as well. The UC system can immediately locate where a 911 call came from, based on the SDN system's ability to tell it which network switch port the dialing phone connects to. Also, emergency calls or broadcasts can be set with the highest priority to assure they get priority over all other traffic, Sam Safa said. And because the UC system is tied to the SDN controller, it can ensure that this traffic actually receives the highest-priority treatment, instead of simply requesting such treatment from the network, as would be the case with traditional QoS marking.

Similarly, the greater control over dynamic resource allocation can help in Disaster Recovery (DR)/failover situations. With SDN integration, if a UC server associated with a mirrored datacenter goes off line, the redundant UC server would know that and could dynamically push bandwidth reallocation policies to the network infrastructure to handle the downtime, rather than this reallocation having to be done manually. Once the UC server was brought back up, the policies would revert to the normal configuration.

Finally, tying the UC system directly to the SDN infrastructure lets the enterprise collect highly granular data on individual users' consumption of network resources, tied to the UC applications that they use. Sam Safa told me that this trove of data could be mined in any number of ways via Big Data analysis, to come up with ways of better understanding how users are using the network, and how to optimize their performance.

Regardless of whether the full-blown SDN vision materializes in enterprise networks over the near term, UC-SDN integration is starting to look like something of a no-brainer, a capability that clearly makes sense for enterprises to employ. NEC's well positioned to capitalize on these advances.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
Eric Krapf on Google+


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

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.