With yesterday's announcement of the Sonus SBC SWe, Sonus claims to have introduced the industry's first session border controller with both unlimited scalability and hardware functionality on a virtualized platform.
The flexibility, scalability, and agility that virtualization can bring to the table have made it increasingly important to the enterprise. Virtualization can bring those benefits to VoIP and Unified Communications (UC) deployments as well, according David Tipping, VP and GM of the SBC business at Sonus.
"Virtualization is now driving the next wave of Unified Communications. Many applications supporting UC today are either virtualized or are on a virtualized platform. Therefore, it is a logical step to virtualize the SBC," Tipping said.
Irwin Lazar, VP and service director of Nemertes Research, echoed Tipping's sentiment in a statement for Sonus. "More than 67 percent of companies have virtualized Unified Communications applications to reduce costs, improve resiliency and enable more efficient utilization of server resources. The ability to run Unified Communications on virtual servers is critical buying criteria," he said.
According to Sonus, the SBC SWe—which stands for Software edition—packs the same feature set as Sonus's hardware-based SBC 5000 series of session border controllers and shares the same codebase and management interfaces as the rest of Sonus's SBC portfolio. Customers with existing Sonus hardware can therefore easily slot the SWe into their existing infrastructure. Enterprises looking to take advantage of new network function virtualization (NFV) technology, meanwhile, may find the SBC SWe more practical and cost-efficient than hardware solutions, particularly when it comes to remote locations, branch offices, and call centers with variable or season-specific volume demands.
Deployed as a software download, the SBC SWe can scale up "as few as 25 to an unlimited number of sessions," according to a Sonus statement. Customers specify the performance levels they require at purchase and then scale up using license keys to expand the SWe's capacity, calls per second, transcoding, and other features as business needs demand.
Sonus's hardware SBC portfolio runs all the way from single-instance for SMBs up to large-scale multi-instance for service providers. The vendor positions the SBC SWe as spanning that entire spectrum in one package. Ideal enterprise customers are those with little or no space for new hardware in their data centers, those interested in NFV and other data center virtualization technology, and those looking for offsite disaster recovery. Additionally, with this announcement, Sonus targets service providers looking for scalable and flexible ways to sell SIP trunking solution packages or to whitelabel interconnect services. Sonus is also aiming the SWe at networking and UC application providers planning to embed SBC functionality in their products.
"The Sonus SBC SWe will help enterprises and service providers harness the power of software and virtualization to create a more dynamic Unified Communications environment with greater scale and deployment flexibility," Tipping said.
Jude Chao is executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.