The shift from traditional telephony platforms to Unified Communications (UC) has put organizations in more of a consumption model, which is causing a shift in how UC is supported. The concept of a call server or PBX is really going away, as all the functions of a UC environment – voice, video and collaboration – are more and more distributed. This trend causes server monitoring and availability to be de-emphasized.
As the effects of Superstorm Sandy are still being felt all over the East Coast, I can’t help but reflect on the importance of Communications especially during times of disaster. Business Continuity requires visibility, availability, reliability and redundancy to ensure the entire organization is kept well informed during emergencies. Are remote locations healthy and available or are services potentially degrading to prevent remote employees from being productive? When the business must reprioritize functions between different geographic territories, are the communications networks successful in handling the increased workload for service quality and throughput?
How important is UC monitoring and management to organizations? According to a Gartner study published in September 2011 called “Survey Analysis: Top Five Challenges When Migrating Your Unified Communications Infrastructure Into Your Data Center“, real-time performance is second only to ensuring compatibility and interoperability of the UC vendor technologies. The Gartner study spanning 8 countries, over a 100 organizations per country with a minimum of 1000 employees per organization outlines the key challenges when adopting UC technologies into the data center. Gartner’s findings quantify the end-user importance of real-time visibility into the UC environment.
If the mere mention of MOS (Mean Opinion Score) conjures up some high level sales terminology that’s meant to gloss over the details and provides little impact to troubleshooting VoIP QoS, then don’t worry because you are not alone. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a growing trend amongst our technology peers who have similar feelings when discussing MOS as a factor of visibility to VoIP networks. Most anecdotal responses to my queries of dismissal end in “…I can’t fix my network using MOS.” So I ponder the dismissal; Has the audience expertise surpassed the oversimplified value of MOS? Has MOS outgrown it’s value in how we operate our VoIP networks? or is there something more subtle creating the perception of dismissal?