Huntsville, Ala.-based ADTRAN, a longtime provider of integrated networking and communications devices, recently announced that its NetVanta Unified Communications (UC) solution can now be managed in the cloud utilizing VMware.
“Just as NetVanta UC was always hardware agnostic, through virtualization we’ve become deployment agnostic as well,” said Jeff Wissing, ADTRAN’s senior product manager for unified communications.
The main thrust of the announcement is that, in addition to the benefits people usually associate with virtualization—increased efficiency of server use, reduction of power, cooling and maintenance costs, and the like—virtualization also confers a great benefit of flexibility in deployment.
“First of all, it could either be the primary communications system or it could be a failover/disaster recovery system,” Wissing told Enterprise VoIPplanet.
“But it also allows different deployment models,” he continued. “I can pick a hardware platform or a virtual platform. I can actually now start putting it into data centers—either on premises, as one of those private cloud applications, or with a partner that actually holds my image somewhere in the cloud.”
Distributed enterprises will be able to deliver UC functionality to their branch locations from a NetVanta UC Server hosted in the cloud, reducing the overall cost of offering UC to all locations.
This deployment flexibility will be of special benefit to service provider partners, Wissing stressed:
“Before, if you wanted to serve a 50-user enterprise, you needed to actually dedicate the hardware for it. But this allows a partner to actually put multiples of these [applications] into the same virtual environment,” Wissing said.
“Engineering rules don’t change; the application needs the same kind of processing power as it did before, but there’s a different value proposition that hosting can now become.”
Of particular value to hosting and managed services providers is NetVanta UC’s integration with other business applications, most notably Microsoft Exchange Server and Active Directory, Wissing pointed out.
Telecommunications hosting typically involves a softswitch, according to Wissing. “They’re very good, they’re very big, and you can actually partition off a piece of it for different customers, so the tenanting aspect of it is very good, but they don’t have a very easy way of actually deploying different applications for those individual customers,” he said.
Virtualization, on the other hand, facilitates such integration. “The applications we can now put NetVanta UC in, it’s just really expanded dramatically,” Wissing said.
“That’s one of the differentiators we have; we actually work with an Active Directory—native integration with Exchange Server—those kinds of things.” And that added flexibility “will let partners take different paths to market,” he concluded.
“Virtualization of NetVanta UC is a strong evolution for ADTRAN’s UC solution portfolio,” said Diane Myers, Infonetics Research analyst, in a statement. “The move to the cloud will create new business opportunities among both channel partners and service providers.”
According to Wissing, many partner-customers will rebrand and resell the solution.
“There has been a lot of demand,” he said. “The amount of customer pressure leading up to this announcement was really substantial—to the point where every third or fourth opportunity was about ‘Can I virtualize this?’ Now the answer is Yes, absolutely. You can.”