As unified communications adoption continues to grow – often more rapidly within enterprises than IT teams can anticipate – the need to accommodate future growth without sacrificing service quality or reliability is paramount to success. With the 3.2 release of its SBC 1000 and SBC 2000 enterprise session border controllers, Sonus has effectively delivered future-proofed hardware for its customers by combining its hardware appliance with software-upgradeable licenses.
Once the decision has been made to move to a UC platform – whether Lync, which is becoming the dominant choice, or an alternative solution – the recommendation is to also deploy an SBC to help mitigate risk related to security issues, interoperability, and reliability. But what is becoming an oft-occurring situation is under-subscription of UC services and features.
Despite engagement with the integrator or reseller, IT managers often fail to properly anticipate the rate of adoption of UC within the enterprise. It might be a question of cost, a poor previous experience, or even an assumption the sales rep is keen on maximizing his sales; whatever the reason, David Tipping (News - Alert), vice president and general manager of Sonus’ SBC Business, says nine of 10 enterprises initially opt for less capacity than is recommended and find, instead, that adoption rates quickly exceed acquired capacity.
Capacity could mean additional PRIs to connect to PBXs or key systems, more analog ports for fax connectivity, or increased sessions for SIP sessions. The need might be driven by the convenience of click-to-call, or the benefits of video collaboration, or the cost savings from bringing conferencing in house rather than using a third-party provider. Again, whatever the cause, the result is more users than have been planned for.
The result is a potentially frustrating period of waiting – waiting for new hardware to be delivered, then waiting for the scheduled downtime (which is never desirable), and then waiting for the actual installation to take place and system to be restarted.
“It could take several weeks, and it can add lots of friction in order to do something as simple as adding capacity,” says Tipping.
With its latest release, Sonus eliminates the friction and the barriers to rapid scalability with what is perhaps best described as a hybrid between traditional and cloud SBCs. Gambling that enterprise adoption of UC is going to grow even faster than it has, Sonus has incorporated maximum hardware into the appliance, addressing capacity through software licensing. The result: All that is needed to upgrade capacity of any sort is a new software key, which is obtained by the partner through a web-based portal and installed remotely without any downtime or delay.
“The nice thing is that, between the customer and the partner, the transaction happens quickly,” says Tipping. “The customer is back to running the business without having to worry about downtime, and the partner can have a higher productivity level. This is a change for the industry that we think is going to be readily adopted by our partners.”
Initial feedback, as should be expected, is highly positive, as soon as partners realize the implications of software-only upgrades to an appliance-based platform. In fact, it’s the same model Sonus offers with its SWe edition (its virtual SBC), using a software key to unlock features, functionality, and capacity. That’s without requiring a full-blown move to all-IP, which, while a future target, is hardly reality for most enterprises today, which still have a need to support TDM connectivity, which requires hardware. This offers a taste of the license model, and it creates a path by which enterprises can grow and enhance their UC capabilities easily and as needed, until they reach the all-IP pinnacle, at which point they’ll have the option to go virtual with the SBC as well.
Edited by Maurice Nagle