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May 2007
Volume 10 / Number 5
The VoIP Authority
Greg Galitzine

CommuniGate Update

By Greg Galitzine, The VoIP Authority

CommuniGate Systems has taken another step towards the next generation of Internet Communications with its recent announcement of Pronto!, a Rich Media user client based on Adobe Flex 2 technology.

According to Jon Doyle, vice president of business development at CommuniGate, (news - alert) “Rich Media is synonymous with ”interactive multimedia,“ and Pronto brings this new medium together with email, IM, and scheduling.”

In fact, to hear Doyle tell it, much of the credit for the widespread adoption of today’s business productivity tools needs to be given to the consumer sector.

“The first two pillars of Internet communications over the last 10 years have been email and websites, and one could argue consumers drove email into widespread adoption as the primary medium for business communications with all the CompuServe and early Hotmail types of services.”

But email is so “web 1.0” isn’t it?

Building on this theme, Doyle believes that IM and chat are also gaining momentum in the business world thanks to widespread adoption of these technologies in the consumer market.

“Pronto is all about unification of these standard forms of communications in a client that is secure and far more portable than a fixed desktop client, said Doyle.”

We’ve written about the CommuniGate Pro IP communications platform in the past and how the platform integrates applications such as scheduling with the SIP engine, and presence with IP phones (i.e., from Polycom) and IM clients. Pronto is the Rich Media client that presents all these applications in a single, easy to use and flexible user interface.

According to the recent announcement from CommuniGate, Pronto talks to CommuniGate Pro via the XIMSS API (XML Interface for Messaging, Scheduling, and Signaling).

This new API is was introduced to CommuniGate Pro in version 5.1 last summer, and it was designed to enable rapid development of lightweight clients and interfaces with web and XML skill sets. The idea is that XIMSS will allow developers to design UIs, build portals, interface with cable modems, or link to external applications and services with no need to use complex protocols.

CommuniGate also recently announced results of a massive scalability profile, where the CommuniGate Pro SIP Farm running on the IBM System z mainframe was tested at IBM’s lab in Montpelier, France.

According to a company statement, the System z mainframe demonstrated excellent overall scalability as the number of Linux virtual machines tested was increased to a maximum of 20 running the CommuniGate Pro SIP Farm Dynamic Cluster under z/VM, the mainframe virtualization technology. As the number of virtual machines was increased, the throughput increased near-linearly. z/VM enabled very efficient utilization of mainframe resources while meeting throughput objectives with a growing workload.

I spoke to Bill Reeder, Linux System z9 Architecture and Strategy, at IBM, about the relationship between IBM and CommuniGate.

CommuniGate is an IBM ISV business partner. The companies have been working together for about five years with IBM hosting applications, such as CommuniGate’s Stalker, on System z hardware.

When asked about the significance of the scalability profile, Reeder responded, “These tests are very significant in today’s marketplace, as telcos are undergoing a rapidly increasing need to host VoIP (define - news - alert) to their customers. Scaling to 25 million users on one server platform raises the bar and creates a good solution for those customers.”

Regarding IMS, Reeder believes that the ability to scale to 25 million users while maintaining a small server footprint in an energy efficient manner means the solution should be very appealing to carriers.

“Keeping in mind that the scaling of services during the test was linear with the number of processors, those customers can scale as their demand for VoIP services increases. When one considers the scaling possibilities hosting IMS services on System z, along with management costs, and a lower cost per square foot for energy consumption, the TCO story can be very compelling.”

The future portends some exciting news for CommuniGate. Doyle told me that the proposed summer 2007 release of version 5.2 will be all about expansion of mobility.

“We are working tightly with Adobe on Flash Lite for handsets such as the Blackjack,” said Doyle.

“Our strategy is to expose all the Rich Media capabilities of the platform to mobile handsets. Subscribers will be able to share music, update blogs, or hand off conversations on their GSM network to the IP (WiFi) network seamlessly.”

Greg Galitzine is Group Editorial Director for TMC’s IP Communications Media Group.


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