Saturday, March 23, 2013

Unified Comms Research

Well I've recently been looking at Unified Comms solutions and as you'll quickly realise there's two big players in this market - Microsoft Lync and Cisco (yeah...we-don't-really-have-any-specific-branding-for-the-whole-solution).

As I get started with my research it's becoming apparent that Microsoft has made a concerted effort to make clear exactly what is required (server infrastructure-wise) to build out an environment for a set of given requirements - they've actually released a server planning tool that specs exactly what you will need.

From quickly running through it I can see that for a 200 user environment with all features enabled (voice, video conferencing both internal and external, mobile device support, calendar presence sync and well everything really) I will need:

With Lync I can get my hands on preview versions of all products straight off the web and they even provide guides on how to set it all up.

I can run them all as virtual servers and it's all looks very straight forward to install.

The videos I've watched on what it's like to actually use the client are impressive - every office sloths dream come true really...

With Cisco it's a whole other story.

I have to go through a vendor to get our hands on some kit, then I'll have them hassling me for a sale for the next few months...

Cisco's not even clear really on which of their products make up a "UC solution" (hell, they've re-branded and abandoned half of their voice and VC solutions over the last couple of years so why should anything change).

Can't find any clear info on their website either that says "if you want a, b and c, then you need products x, y and z.

The Cisco UC platform appears to be essentially composed of the following server platforms:

  • Unified Call Manager Servers (Publisher and Subscriber)
  • WebEx (shudder) Service
  • Unified Presence Server
  • Jabber Client
  • Voice Gateway Hardware (CME)
  • More I haven't found yet...
Gotta say Cisco really seems to be giving off this vibe when it comes to UC:

Entry barrier is definitely lower with Microsoft....

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