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What Virtualization Brings to the Table

I wrote an article for Mitel Networks about 18 months ago on the system supplier's deployment of virtualization to offer Mitel Applications Suite (MAS) on a single server solution. Mitel has also announced its plans to offer multiple instances of its Director generic software on a single server for multi-tenant and Service Provider hosted Communications as a Service (CaaS) offerings. The topic of virtualization did not become a hot industry issue until recently, following the second round of Avaya Aura announcements earlier this month. Since then there have been several excellent No Jitter posts about virtualization, mostly focusing on technical issues. I doubt this post will be the last on the topic, but now may be the time to briefly highlight and summarize what virtualization brings to the table as regards enterprise communications systems from a business (non-technical) perspective.What Virtualization Brings:

* Single server solutions that are "Software Ready" for "Applications Active" implementations when needed with minimal time requirements

* Reduced hardware requirements that: --Reduce upfront capital expenditures --Reduce ongoing administration, monitoring, and maintenance expenses, including better management and control of software licenses --Reduce associated overhead expenses, such as space requirements, cooling, and energy

* Can greatly simplify the IT infrastructure in support of: --Multiple operating system requirements typically required for specific feature/application solutions --Communications signaling and interoperability in support of multiple software feature/application programs common to many current customer configurations (telephony, non-real time messaging, IM, presence, conferencing and collaboration, Applications Programming Interface, et al) --A cleaner software update/upgrade process, i.e. each application resides on its own "virtual server" preventing one application from impacting another application when upgrades or changes are made.

* Increased services time availability and reduced recovery time, because: --Applications deployment is accelerated owing to significantly reduced pre-deployment testing requirements --Virtually isolated feature/application errors are more quickly diagnosed and corrected with a reduced probability that a single application error will spread to other applications

The topic will also be included in my presentation "Architectures for Unified Communication" at next month's Interop NY.