Why a Phased Approach to Communications-in-the-Cloud Makes Sense

As IT departments refresh their assets, an increasing number of decision-makers are taking a close look at cloud-based software to replace aging, on-premise hardware.

The benefits of the cloud should be well-worn territory by now: Lower initial costs and steady monthly billing make long-term budget planning a breeze, upgrades and security patches are virtually pain-free, remote workers can access their complete suite of business tools and applications, critical data is housed in multiple locations, easing disaster recovery—the list goes on.

Business communications is getting a similar overhaul to the cloud. Desk phones can be untethered from the traditional on-premise PBX and placed in the cloud, accessible through IP-based hard phones, desktop-based soft phones and mobile apps. Similarly, contact centers can place their software, equipment and customer databases in the cloud.

Avaya has made significant investments in the cloud, and offers a range of cloud-based solutions for its customers. At VMworld 2015, a team of engineers are demonstrating Avaya UC and CC products hosted on VMware vCloud Air, the company’s cloud-based service platform.

A key feature to Avaya’s vCloud Air-based offer is its phased rollout, says Mohan Gopalakrishna, one of the lead engineers on the project, who will speak at VMworld 2015 on Wednesday.

“A phased approach gives customers a chance to try a smaller piece of the infrastructure in the cloud and builds their confidence in cloud-based solutions,” said Gopalakrishna. “We can gradually retire servers from the on-premise campus and into the cloud. Avaya protects the investment and gives you an easy migration path to the cloud at your own pace.”

Avaya’s Enterprise Solution Practice team helps architect cloud migration plans for existing customers, adopting a phased approach that uses on-premise equipment on the path to the entire solution being in the cloud. Cloud doesn’t have to mean rip-and-replace.

Currently, Gopalakrishna estimates it would take about a month to fully migrate a midsized company’s unified communications to the cloud—a target he thinks could eventually be shortened to under a week.

Contact centers are more complex, and could take 3 to 6 months based on the project’s complexity. Still, that’s much faster than the 8 to 12 months it currently takes to migrate an on-premise contact center. Eventually, Avaya expects an average reduction of 50 percent in lead-time-to-market.

Avaya works with major cloud service providers like VMware on two levels: The first is placing Avaya solutions inside the provider’s cloud service, essentially treating it as infrastructure. The second is by using the cloud provider’s unique tools to enhance Avaya software running on the infrastructure. At VMworld, Mohan will talk about the ways Avaya used VMware’s real-time hypervisor to improve its hybrid cloud solutions.

If you’re attending VMworld 2015, join Mohan Gopalakrishna on Wednesday, Sept. 2 (details here), and visit booth #541 to learn more about Avaya products and solutions.

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