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Siemens OpenScape Voice

I like the licensing options offered with OpenScape Voice. You want to subscribe, no problem. You want to capitalize the investment, can do. Also, the licensing model is simple to understand.

It's 85 degrees with clear, blue skies here in Minneapolis. No humidity, and a little breeze to keep mosquitoes at bay. A perfect summer day (plus the Twins just swept 4 games from the hapless KC Royals).

In a good year, we get maybe 10 days like this in Minnesota. Tops. Which begs the question, Eric--why am I sitting inside writing this column? I know, I have a deadline.

Anyway, this week, with all the interest in "cloud computing" and Communications as a Service (CaaS), I thought it might be interesting to look at a system designed for data center environments and large/very large enterprises: Siemens Enterprise Communications' OpenScape Voice (OSV).

Siemens Enterprise Communications, Inc.

They were a Siemens AG division responsible for selling and supporting communication technologies around the world. That changed in 2008 when US private equity firm Gores Group, LLC and Siemens AG entered in to a joint venture. Siemens Enterprise Communications, Inc is now part of the Gores Group "portfolio" that includes SER Solutions (enterprise contact management software), Cycos (unified messaging/unified communications solutions) and Enterasys Networks (data network equipment).

Siemens Enterprise Communications, Inc.

Soft Switch Technology and Siemens OpenScape Voice (OSV)
Siemens' OpenScape Voice is a "soft switch" product. To clarify, think of OSV as a software application running on a standard hardware platform with call control as its primary function.

Comprising OSV's principal architecture are media servers (for announcements, IVR, auto attendants etc), gateways (for PSTN connectivity), analog adapters, and IP/SIP endpoints. At a high level, a soft switch performs the following processes via software instead of hardware:

* Call control connection services to media gateways and native IP/SIP endpoints
* Routing calls based on signaling and customer database information
* Ability to transfer control of the call to other network elements (mid-call control functions)
* Interfaces to and support for management functions (fault detection, call accounting)

Formerly known as HiPath 8000, OSV is SIP-based software running on IBM e-Series or Fujitsu RX series platforms with Linux OS (this platform changes in September when Siemens introduces OSV with virtualization support). Designed for up to 100,000 users per node, OSV is intended for deployment within data center or co-location environments. As such, OSV is not your "traditional" enterprise IP Telephony server.

OSV is part of Siemens Communications' large enterprise communications portfolio that includes their HiPath 4000. Together with media servers and gateways, OSV supports optiPoint and OpenStage SIP desktop endpoints as well as optiClient and OpenScape PE soft clients. OSV also integrates with HiPath Xpressions, OpenScape Contact Center, and OpenScape UC applications.

With that background, let's look at OSV software licensing....

With that background, let's look at OSV software licensing....

OSV Software Licensing and Pricing
Siemens Enterprise Communications has created two licensing models, both of which apply to OpenScape Voice. Specifically, these models are:

* Traditional "perpetual" licenses with one-time software Right-to-Use (RTU) fees. Applies to Siemens' OpenScape, HiPath products, Xpressions, and Contact Center products.

* Subscription licensing with monthly recurring fees. Applies to Hosted and UC Suite products only (OpenScape Voice, Xpressions, UC Applications, and OpenScape Contact Center). Subscription licensing is NOT available for HiPath 3000 and 4000 products at this time.

Because I've already covered Siemens' subscription licensing (see my No Jitter article dated May 16, 2010), I'm only looking at OSV traditional RTU software licensing in this column.

With OpenScape Voice, software pricing is based on the following areas:

1. Software components for specific functionality such as base system, redundancy, lab/test systems
2. Usage for the # of end users
3. Bundles for pre-defined groups of UC applications

The table below presents the core OSV software licenses with list prices (converted from Euros with 1US dollar = 0.7699 euros). Keep in mind that this is a partial list but highlights the main software components:

Of course, the above prices are list. Significant discounts can be negotiated on a per customer basis, depending on the system configurations and other buyer commitments (e.g., multi-year Software Assurance contracts).

Also remember that a "user" may have up to five devices using only one Dynamic License as long as each device has the same unique phone number. There are no licenses required for trunking (Analog CO, SIP, T1, or E1).

Licenses for OpenScape Media Servers are included with OSV software pricing so customers pay no additional license fees for these platforms. However, you'll also need a Dynamic User license for every miscellaneous analog device connected to an analog adapter.

Other highlights and cocktail party trivia:

* Software upgrade subscription contracts called Software Assurance are optional (not always the case with other vendors)

* Transferability: OSV software licenses can transfer with the OpenScape asset from one customer to another customer with no penalty or cost.

* Portability: Customers cannot move licenses from one OSV system/node to another. If a user moves from an OSV node in the US to another OSV node in Europe, a new license is required.

Wrap up
First, I like the licensing options offered with OSV. You want to subscribe, no problem. You want to capitalize the investment, can do.

Second, the licensing model is simple to understand. No tiers, no different licenses for various endpoints, plus users can have multiple hard/soft endpoints without additional cost. No media server or trunking licenses either.

The OSV test/lab license concept is also unique in offering the ability to replicate your production environment without doubling your investment.

Lastly, Siemens does a lot of things really well, but I have to say their website currently lacks good technical information (but I'm told this is changing soon). That said, here are a few links for more information on Siemens Enterprise Communications and OSV:

* Siemens Enterprise Communications

* OpenScape Voice

In closing, my thanks to Holger Stotz, Director, Global Product Management OpenScape Voice at Siemens for his time and product information. I'll plan on visiting his Boca Raton, Florida office next February or March for a product update.

Here's a preview of what's coming in August and September:

IBM Sametime 8.5 (Brent Kelly, Ph.D, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research joins me for this article)

Session Border Controllers (Cisco, Ingate, Acme Packet, Dialogic)

Avaya Aura 6.0

Session Border Controllers (Cisco, Ingate, Acme Packet, Dialogic)

Avaya Aura 6.0

Until next time, all the best.