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Siemens Designs OpenScape UC Server as Hardware-agnostic Virtual Appliance

July 01, 2010

Takeaway: Siemens Enterprise Communications (Best of Show winner at this spring's VoiceCon Orlando 2010) leverages the potential of virtualization to consolidate IT infrastructure. Siemens' OpenScape UC Server 2010 portfolio is now available on the virtualized VMware vSphere 4 server platform. (Note: two of the applications in the portfolio, OpenScape Video and OpenScape Mobility, are hardware-oriented and do not support virtualization.) Unlike some of the other early adopters of voice virtualization packaged with a specific server, Siemens has designed its solution to be hardware-agnostic, calling it a "Virtual Appliance" model (i.e. a specific hardware vendor or specific server is not mandated as long as the server meets the specifications and supports the Intel Nehalem chip set). Siemens is also planning to support other virtualization platforms going forward and is evaluating both KVM and Xen, depending on customer demand and performance. Read more about Siemens OpenScape UC Server 2010 below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on the enterprise telephony market.


Siemens Enterprise Communications stresses choice, flexibility and investment protection for customers with its OpenScape Unified Communications (UC) Server, a software platform that comes complete with call processing and a portfolio of applications resident on a single server. Siemens continues to build on the initial offer (March 2008) that originally incorporated three components, OpenScape Voice (formerly Siemens HiPath 8000), OpenScape Video and the OpenScape UC Application. Siemens added other applications during 2008 and 2009, including OpenScape Contact Center, OpenScape Messaging and OpenScape Mobility, and most recently, OpenScape Xpressions UC which combines OpenScape Messaging with some of the UC capabilities from the OpenScape Enterprise application.

What's New?

OpenScape UC Server 2010: OpenScape UC Server 2010, the latest version, is available on the virtualized VMware vSphere 4 server platform, resulting in data center efficiencies since virtualization allows voice applications to run side-by-side with non-voice applications on a single server. The benefits of virtualization are clear - lower total cost of ownership, high availability and performance and common management for both voice and data applications. Virtualization also lays the foundation for future cloud computing. Unlike some of the other early adopters of voice virtualization, Siemens has designed its solution to be hardware-agnostic, as a "Virtual Appliance" model. That is, a specific hardware vendor or specific server is not mandated as long as the server meets the specifications and supports the Intel Nehalem chip set. Siemens is also planning to partner with other virtualization platforms going forward and is evaluating both KVM and Xen, but will assess customer demand and performance.

In terms of capacity, current testing by Siemens indicates little to no loss of subscribers when running in a virtualized mode. OpenScape Voice scales from 300 to 100,000 users per node and to an unlimited number of users in a networked configuration. [Note: two of the applications in the portfolio, OpenScape Video and OpenScape Mobility, are hardware-oriented and do not support virtualization.]

HiPath 4000 Migration: Siemens also addresses earlier HiPath 4000 deployments with the new OpenScape 4000 Convergence Driver, a virtualized software solution that supports the HiPath 4000 feature set. This provides a migration path for current HiPath 4000 customers toward the OpenScape UC Server 2010 platform. Siemens explains that the OpenScape 4000 Convergence Driver is the original HiPath 4000 software configured to run on a separate server in a virtualized environment. In addition, OpenScape Flex Licensing will 'port' user licenses from HiPath 4000 to OpenScape Voice (and vice versa). Migration advantages for HiPath 4000 customers include the comprehensive SIP feature-set and scalability of OpenScape Voice, and conversely, OpenScape Voice can be enhanced with HiPath 4000 features and analog/digital ports. Despite the migration strategy, Siemens plans to continue to offer HiPath 4000 for new customers that are not yet ready for a pure data-center implementation. Siemens indicates it already has existing support commitments through 2016. www.siemens-enterprise.com

Sandra M. Gustavsen, senior analyst for T3i Group, contributes her TelecomTactics column to ContactCenterSolutions. To read more of Sandra's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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