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August 03, 2009

Ensuring Continuous Service in the Microsoft OCS 2007 Environment

By TMCnet Special Guest
Nir Ilani, Director of Product Marketing, Application Delivery, Radware
By Nir Ilani,
 
People use a variety of tools to communicate, from traditional landline, VoIP or mobile phones, to e-mail, instant messaging, audio/video conferencing, presence and new social networking sites. With each tool, end-user expectations regarding Quality of Service are high, as users expect ‘always up’ communications and consistent reliability.
 
For example, when picking up the telephone, we expect to hear the dial tone without delay, or when we send an IM because the presence application tells us a ‘friend’ is available, we expect an immediate response. As voice-data packets converge in a Unified Communications (News - Alert) environment, IT Managers will be expected to maintain the same level of immediate communications service and availability – just like any other SLA is naturally expected to be met – despite the number of concurrent users or the types of bandwidth-intensive applications that may be draining network capacity levels.
 
In today’s continuous global business environment, the ‘always up’ requirement from a UC service, such as Microsoft (News - Alert) Office Communications Server 2007, has a strong business justification. A communications failure due to latency, poor QoS, packet loss, or jitter could have a highly negative business impact - resulting in lowered customer satisfaction, high volumes of customer churn and/or a significant decline in revenues.
 
Therefore the pressure is on for IT Managers, when working within the UC environment, to address QoS issues head-on; ensuring a streamlined approach to scaling and securing the solution to support more services, capacity, and user concurrency. Today, an enterprise voice system is mission-critical, and OCS availability and reliability directly impacts the ability to exchange information and execute business processes – affecting overall productivity and bottom-line figures.
 
Guaranteeing Reliability and Scalability
 
To guarantee reliability and scalability in the Microsoft OCS environment, there needs to be greater control over traffic redirection for Web Services content and SIP-based UC services. This can be achieved using an intelligent application delivery controller for advanced load balancing to ensure users are able to leverage the communications services offered by Microsoft OCS – irrespective of time, location or number of users. The ADC (News - Alert) solution should add redundancy for Microsoft OCS, guaranteeing the communication services are available and ready to serve the end-user, when desired.
 
Many next-generation communications, collaboration and social networking services require more bandwidth to operate properly and flawlessly – as more bandwidth is needed to support the application (e.g. video conferencing/video sharing).
 
By deploying a certified ADC that has met the requirements for Microsoft’s Hardware Load Balancer program for the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, like Radware’s (News - Alert) AppDirector, organizations will be able to guarantee maximum network application availability, scalability, performance and security. In turn, AppDirector provides advanced health monitoring to avoid system downtime and advanced traffic management – reducing operational expenditures by improving productivity through uninterrupted communications service.
 
IT organizations should also align the cost invested in their ADC solution with their current network throughput needs. As capacity requirements grow, IT personnel should be able to easily increase capacity to support new bandwidth requirements. This should be handled without any forklift operation, or downtime. To achieve this, Radware offers AppDirector in a ‘pay-as-you-grow’ licensing model to ensure long-term investment protection, facilitating incremental growth demanded by today’s business. This enables the ADC solution to seamlessly integrate with existing and newly-deployed Microsoft OCS environments without requiring any modifications to network infrastructure, application infrastructure, end-user client device, software, or source code.
 
Summary
 
Businesses that rely on Microsoft OCS must guarantee uninterrupted UC services to ensure productivity is not degraded and potential business is not lost. To address these business requirements, IT departments must be proactive in deploying ADC solutions that offer: (1) full communication service availability – from advanced health-monitoring to detecting real-time communication failures and automatically redirecting users to an available resource, (2) increased Quality of Experience through advanced load balancing and server performance optimization – whereby users are effortlessly redirected to the least loaded, best performing server for increased response times and (3) maximum scalability based on business demands -- to seamlessly support more users and greater traffic throughput without any physical upgrade or modification.
 
Radware’s AppDirector was recently certified for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, providing uninterrupted communications services and improved productivity by eliminating costly downtime. To learn more about Radware or AppDirector, please visit: www.radware.com.

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TMCnet publishes expert commentary on various telecommunications, IT, call center, CRM and other technology-related topics. Are you an expert in one of these fields, and interested in having your perspective published on a site that gets several million unique visitors each month? Get in touch.

Edited by Michael Dinan
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