One of the hardest enterprise applications to manage is Unified Communications (UC). Voice and video used to be fairly straightforward. Dedicated infrastructure, cables and endpoints ensured the quality was high and the system was simple to manage but was highly inefficient and costly.
UC solutions are now software platforms running over IP networks, and the endpoints are connected over wired or wireless infrastructure. Users are no longer located in a single building and are constantly on the move. Adding to the complexity is virtualized platforms and cloud-delivered services. These many moving parts makes managing UC difficult, if not impossible, with legacy management tools.
+ Also on Network World: The real unified communications +
Earlier this month VOSS announced a global partnership with LayerX Technologies to make managing UC environments easier. For those not familiar the two companies, LayerX Technologies is a service assurance vendor that takes data into its platform, runs it through its analytic engine and provides actionable insights. The LayerX solution is used by a wide variety of IT groups, including security, network operations, application managers and UC engineers.
VOSS is one of many UC management vendors, but it specializes in service fulfillment for complex, large-scale deployments. The company generates and stores data to help customers provision services faster, understand utilization, remediate licenses and a number of other tasks through a single point of glass.
In this digital era, the ability to partner in a meaningful way will help vendors gain an advantage over their competitors because they can innovate faster. Trying to build an end-to-end solution becomes increasingly difficult, particularly with an application as complicated as UC. I would consider both companies to be “best of breed” in what they do, and the combination of the two gives customers a more complete view than each could have alone by leveraging each other’s strengths.
UC management features
The integration between the massive amount of data created from the VOSS-4-UC suite and the LayerX analytic engine provides customers with the following capabilities:
- UC quality, including call-quality management, call-path analytics, network health monitoring and fault isolation
- Log Analytics, such as structured and unstructured analysis of all machine data
- Application performance management from rich insight into the application usage as well as the host performance
- Network performance derived from multi-threaded correlation to produce rich event monitoring and automated corrective actions
- NetFlow analytics using a wide range of flows as a data source for greater insight and analysis of the network and application performance
- Security intelligence through a combination of all data sources to gain a greater intelligence of both insider and outside threats
The comprehensive functionality shows the power of integrating management solutions. Historically, IT departments would run multiple platforms, collect multiple data sets and then try to correlate, analyze and understand the meanings through manual processes. With UC, that could include looking at information from servers, network devices, security tools, log files and a wide range of other infrastructure. The manual tasks associated with making sense of the data is so overwhelming difficult only the biggest enterprises with dedicated teams of people could come close to having a complete picture of how UC is running.
Some companies may try to write custom software to better understand what the data means, but that requires constant change as the vendors evolve. The service assurance capabilities of LayerX combined with expertise that VOSS has in service fulfillment provides richer information across the UC management lifecycle, which can lower the cost of running UC through better insights.