Archive for August 2013

The UC environment has changed, and the management of it needs to change as well.

Over the last decade or so we’ve seen more IT innovation than any other 10-year period prior. Virtualization, wireless technologies, the cloud, mobility and converged networks give us capabilities far beyond anything we’ve had before. This is particularly true for the communications industry, which really saw very little innovation from about the ’70s through Y2K when the PBX reigned supreme. Reliable? Sure, but not very flexible or agile and hardly innovative. Today we can do almost anything we want with communications, and provision any service to any user.

However, the cost of this agility has been a loss of visibility and an environment that’s become very difficult to manage and troubleshoot. Consider the old way. There was a PBX, phone and a cable that connected them. If there was a failure, it was one of those three things. Today there are physical servers, virtual servers, cloud based call control, dedicated wired endpoints, softphones, WiFi based softphones, multimedia connections and on and on. If there’s a problem, where does one start to troubleshoot? Without decent tools, network managers have about as much visibility into what’s going on with UC as Alex Rodriguez has had recently with what’s going on with his career.

Earlier this week, WAN optimization leader Riverbed announced an upgrade to RiOS, the operating system that powers its Steelhead appliances. This particular release, version 8.5, had some particularly unique features that I felt expanded the use of WAN Optimization appliances.

Historically, WAN optimization products have been used to improve the performance over private networks by accelerating traffic over specific links by accelerating traffic. This made it ideal for optimizing the performance of email, Windows, CAD, and other applications that caused enterprise network managers headaches. From the many interviews I’ve done with Riverbed customers, it’s clear that once network managers get a taste of an optimized WAN, they want more. In fact, one network engineer I talked to described Riverbed as “network crack,” meaning the more he got, the more he wanted.



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