Virtualization is undoubtedly one of the hottest terms in communications and technology today. But behind all the hype are some very real benefits, including several that will positively impact UC deployments.

According to Nemertes Research, almost 70 percent of companies have already implemented a virtualized infrastructure to support their UC platforms or are planning to. It’s no wonder. As organizations have moved from standalone PBXs to IP telephony and unified communications (UC), the emphasis has been primarily on lowering costs but also to increase efficiency, flexibility and scalability of their communications systems. And virtualization can help achieve these goals.

What Can Virtualization Do For You?
While virtualization has been in place for UC applications that didn’t require real-time capabilities—namely voicemail and messaging—recent technology developments now make it an ideal solution for conferencing, call center and other applications that are sensitive to delays.

Virtual servers have been deployed by businesses large and small for a number of reasons, including gaining a better use of resources. Currently, most physical servers are operating at a fraction of their capacity, which is not only very inefficient but introduces a great deal of complexity as companies deploy many more servers than they actually need. Virtualization reins in this sprawl and helps to maximize existing resources.

In addition to gaining better server utilization, virtualization also allows companies to mix and match both virtual servers and traditional hardware on the same network. This flexibility allows enterprises to decide at what pace to virtualize and in what sequence.

For companies looking to the cloud, virtualization is a great jumping off point. Once functions are virtualized and not reliant on physical servers, going to the cloud is an easy next step.

Virtualization with ShoreTel
ShoreTel 14.2 brings all of the advantages of UC virtualization in one package to give businesses the flexibility they’re asking for regardless of business size. Whether organizations prefer a virtual, physical or combination deployment, they will reap instant benefits, such as increased scalability and reliability, higher application availability and decreased hardware and operational complexity.

This is achieved through the ability to virtualize all UC components, including call control, SIP trunks and collaborative applications, onto industry standard servers. This creates an attractive solution for small and medium businesses but can also be scaled to support up to 1,000 phones and 500 SIP trunks for large enterprises that need the increased capacity.

And by using standard virtual servers, companies are able to consolidate their hardware across UC applications as well as conserve on their energy consumption.

UC Makes the Virtual Leap
Virtualization may be the buzzword of the day, but it comes with very real and tangible ways to cut costs, maximize resources and simplify the entire UC network.

Companies that choose the virtual path are set to travel on the road to a UC deployment that grows with them and gives them options as their needs change in the future.