Real Time Communications Featured Article

UC Cloud Shoppers Should Weigh Multi-Instance Against Multi-Tenant Approaches

July 30, 2014

The popularization of the term cloud has led some companies to rebrand existing products and services as cloud solutions without actually ensuring those offerings are true cloud solutions. That appears to be the case whether we’re talking about unified communications or other solutions, such as those related to the contact center, and may cause confusion for potential buyers of such solutions.

True cloud solutions are based on a distributed delivery model, allow for frequent updates, are able to be delivered with guaranteed service levels and up times, are multitenant and not managed per instance, and are scalable, explains Chuck Ciarlo, founder and CEO of Monet Software. These are capabilities not found in client-server products that are simply pushed up to a hosted facility the vendor controls but lack virtualization and scalability, he says.

Multi-instance cloud services typically involve the virtualization of a server-based premises PBX, Derek Yoo, CTO of Thinking Phone Networks, explains in a recent article. Each customer is then provided with its own virtual machine, Yoo says, and the VM environment is supplemented with things like billing and operational support systems and PSTN access.

By comparison, the multi-tenant approach involves one platform based on multiple VMs to serve all customers simultaneously. Vendors should really create this kind of environment from the ground up, which is more of a challenge for them at the outset, but offers lower costs (due, at least in part, to ease of management and the ability to implement BSS/OSS tools more easily) and higher scalability (due to the ability to load share between users and workloads) for them and their customers once this platform is up and running, Yoo indicates. Having a single instance across multiple VMs also can increase cloud reliability, as work can be moved to other VMs if one or more VMs experience outages or performance issues.

Infonetics Research says the use of the cloud for unified communications is on the rise. Infonetics reports that 22 percent of respondents to its recent survey say they already have implemented portions of their UC architecture in a private cloud. About 19 percent indicated they have done so in a public cloud.

That’s a good start, but cloud UC has been a little slow to take off. However, new software solutions could potentially help things on this front move forward at an accelerated pace.

For example, GENBAND’s SESSION GRID end-to-end IP communications framework, provides rich session orchestration capabilities to enable dynamic interaction that traverses diverse applications, devices, networks (including cellular, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, etc.), and systems, and that combines voice, video, text, images, and data. The SESSION GRID framework is the foundation on which GENBAND’s SMART SESSION and SMART EXPERIENCE solutions were built.

SMART SESSION offers centralized session management to orchestrate, mediate, and regulate communications flows across different applications, endpoints, and networks. SMART EXPERIENCE, meanwhile, delivers open APIs that allow developers to expedite integration with external applications. 


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