March 09, 2011
Aastra 700 Replaces MX-ONE Compact
By Sandra M. Gustavsen
Analyst, Business VoIP
Takeaway: Aastra stresses its commitment to the future and long-term investment protection with a new system called Aastra (News - Alert) 700 which replaces the company’s MX-ONE Compact for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Aastra 700 has the same capacity as the earlier MX-ONE Compact (up to 1,000 users), but utilizes virtualization technology that reduces the hardware requirement. The call manager software runs along with other Aastra applications and management on a single virtualized server (VMware’s vSphere 4 platform). Aastra 700 adheres to open industry standards and has built-in, license-activated UC applications. By leveraging the well-established MX-ONE core call control (formerly from Ericsson (News - Alert) and acquired by Aastra in 2008), Aastra 700 can be part of a network of MX-ONE platforms or can migrate to the enterprise-level MX-ONE platform since hardware and software components are the same. Read more below about Aastra 700 and the MX-ONE Compact migration.
Aastra announced the new Aastra 700 on February 2, 2011 as a direct successor to the MX-ONE Compact for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). MX-ONE Compact was first introduced in 2009 in Europe, followed by North America just last year (first quarter of 2010). The new Aastra 700 has the same capacity as the earlier MX-ONE Compact, 50-1,000 users, and targets this range (1,000 users) in North America or businesses with up to 300 users in other world regions, though systems deployed outside of North America can scale to 1,000 users if desired.
Virtualization: Aastra 700 differs from the earlier MX-ONE Compact in that it utilizes virtualization technology from VMware which reduces the hardware requirement. The call manager software runs alongside other Aastra applications and management on a single virtualized server (in this case, the VMware’s vSphere 4 platform). Virtualization technology is a layer of software that decouples or breaks the bond between the operating system and the physical hardware, thus allowing multiple operating systems and software applications to run simultaneously and share the resources of a single physical computer. So, for example, an IT organization can run both Windows and Linux, or multiple versions of an operating system, along with multiple applications, on the same server. For the Aastra 700, the applications run within a Windows operating system, while the telephony server and management run under Linux. So, the virtualized single server eliminates the need for the Application Server that was required with the MX-ONE Compact. In other words, Aastra has eliminated a need for one or two additional servers by using virtualization technology.
Hardware: Aastra reports that installation and configuration can be accomplished in less than two hours. Two hardware units are available: a 3U chassis with embedded server board or a 4U chassis with a separate server board. The 3U chassis is geared more toward all-IP installations (though it still has two free slots for TDM boards that support up to 64 TDM extensions). The 4U chassis has more support for TDM extensions (four slots available) since the embedded server board is placed in a 1U unit which frees up two slots in the 4U chassis for an additional 64 TDM extensions or an overall total of 128 TDM extensions.
MX-ONE Compact Migration: Current MX-ONE Compact customers with a valid Software Assurance subscription can migrate to Aastra 700 software at no cost. All Aastra telephones, wireless handsets and applications are compatible with the Aastra 700; however, customers with the early MX-ONE Compact (Generation I) must purchase the new server(s). For customers with the latest MX-ONE Compact version (Generation II), the 3U chassis is the same as that of the Aastra 700, so only the embedded server board needs to be replaced, resulting in the Aastra 700 hardware infrastructure capable of running virtualization.
Pre-installed Applications: Aastra 700 supports open industry standards (SIP, CSTA 3/XML, Web Services and SOA) and supports Microsoft (News - Alert) solutions, namely Microsoft OCS R2, Exchange unified messaging and Active Directory. All applications are pre-installed and license-activated. The base offer includes the telephony system (call manager software, gateways and server) and licenses for several Aastra applications, namely Aastra’s Solidus eCare Lite for a contact center capability, CMG Lite for contact management, OneBox voicemail, Manager Provisioning and Manager Telephony System (a call manager configuration tool). Optionally, customers can activate licenses for Aastra Mobile Client (AMC) software, the InTouch+ SIP softphone, CMG Calendar Connection and CMG Visit and OneBox UM (unified messaging).
End User Devices: Aastra has a wide range of end user devices that are also available for purchase, including SIP, IP, TDM and DECT and WiFi devices. This includes Aastra’s latest 67xxi and 74xxip desktop telephones and the Aastra 7444i GUI. Aastra also has its own in-house solutions for WiFi and DECT, avoiding complex third-party solutions and differentiating Aastra from some of its competitors in the SMB space. Furthermore, Aastra has a solution for smartphone integration. The Aastra Mobile Client (AMC) software extends telephony features to a mobile phone device for one number access (parallel ringing of office desktop extension and mobile device) and access to PBX features such as conferencing, forwarding and transfer. An advanced version, AMC+, supports seamless hand-off of calls between WiFi and cellular networks (Fixed Mobile Convergence (News - Alert)). AMC also supports several standards, including XMPP (mobile presence and instant messaging federation), LDAP (corporate directory search) and STRP/TLS for security (encrypted voice). AMC and AMC+ software currently runs on Symbian S60 third and fifth editions, RIM Blackberry, Google (News - Alert) Android and Apple iPhone devices, with no feature differences among the different smartphones.
Availability/Compatibility: Aastra 700 is generally available as of Feb. 2, 2011 and effectively replaces the earlier MX-ONE Compact going forward. Current MX-ONE Compact customers can migrate to Aastra 700, retaining all telephones, wireless handsets and applications, but must upgrade to the Aastra 700 software (the software upgrade is free for customers who have a valid Software Assurance subscription). Also, customers with MX-ONE Compact Generation I hardware must purchase the new hardware chassis, and customers with a Generation II 3U chassis need to replace the server board. Aastra 700 is based on the MX-ONE core call control (formerly from Ericsson and acquired by Aastra in 2008), so it can be part of a network of MX-ONE platforms or can migrate to the enterprise-level MX-ONE platform with compatible cards, phones, server hardware and software. Sandra M. Gustavsen, business VoIP analyst, contributes her Business VoIP column to TMCnet. To read more of Sandra�s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf