Since the introduction of the cloud into Unified Communications (UC), it has simplified services for the end-user but it also created complications for the service provider and for UC applications. If these obstacles are not addressed, they can lead to big problems especially for real-time communications such as voice or video.
Generally speaking, the cloud means your applications are sitting hosted in a data center, which is remote from where the consumer of that service is located. Also, people who are using UC applications are not actually located where the data centers are or where the applications are powered from.
“So, cloud for real-time communications increases complexity, decreases visibility, complicates service ability because with the cloud there is a network separation between the consumer of the real-time service and where the applications are hosted,” Gurmeet Lamba, VP R&D, Unified Communications (News - Alert) Management at OPNET Technologies, Inc. told TMCnet.
There are multiple tiers involved with UC in the cloud such as software and hardware, abstraction, and virtualization.
Specifically, the cloud complicates service ability. In generic cloud applications like a Web browser, it is a simpler client. But, in the case of real-time communications, when your client is a device such as a phone, the challenges become more complex.
“When something isn’t working correctly on your phone, the cloud provider generally does not have easy visibility into your phone. And, the end device like a phone is really a computer with a lot of complicated configuration on it,” explained Lamba.
The cloud also decreases visibility. Cloud providers do not have visibility into your network or the company’s network because they are simply a cloud provider and are just providing the service of the phone.
“With UC in the cloud, when there is a problem with your phone, you can’t simply fix it yourself. Instead, you have to call your service provider because you don’t have the visibility, so you are relying on many layers of people to help you,” said Dave Roberts, director of product management, Unified Communications at OPNET.
The solution to these challenges of UC in the cloud includes end-to-end monitoring. Monitoring and testing technologies can touch every single component in the breadth and the depth whether it’s happening in the data center, the consumer’s network or the device, according to Lamba. It is more important to use end-to-end monitoring for UC in the cloud to ensure that your services are working correctly.
So, how do you ensure that everything is monitored and validate that everything works end-to-end?
“You must test it. There is no better way to validate whether everything is working than testing,” concluded Lamba. “Monitoring is mostly reactive as you are watching things happening. So, if there is a problem, you are watching something go wrong, but you did not prevent them proactively from going wrong.”
To compliment the passive monitoring of all components end-to-end in the cloud, you must power proactive testing in order to validate that all components work.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.
Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Jamie Epstein