The accelerating adoption of VoIP in the enterprise means the traditional caretakers of data networksthat is, IT departmentsare increasingly finding themselves responsible for the organization's communications infrastructure as wella new role in most cases.
Naturally, seasoned IT managers tend to look for the same kinds of management tools to carry out these new responsibilities that they've used to manage their IP data networks. That is the raison d'être of SyncVoice Communications, a five-year-old firm headquartered in Orange County, Calif.
"VoIP has forced IT departments to decide how they want to handle both their legacy and converged networks," said SyncVoice CEO Kerry Shih. "We deliver a platform that manages communication performance, security, and cost controls to a common standard regardless of vendor, network topology, or level of convergence."
That platform, the company's flagship product, VXTracker, got a vote of confidence last week when SyncVoice announced it had secured $4 million in Series A financing from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Clearstone Venture Partners.
Having garnered some 250 customers and reaching profitability in its fourth year of operation, SyncVoice plans to use this capital infusion to boost sales, marketing, and engineering. "We will be using this capital to accelerate our growth," Shih commented.
What it does, how it works
VXTracker is an interesting combination of infrastructure monitoring and analysis tools. It brings together into one interface a host of functions: capacity analysis for TDM networks, pre-VoIP-deployment evaluation of IP networks, round-the-clock QoS monitoring, network usage monitoringapplication by application, service-level agreement and performance reporting, compilation of a complete, granular communications trail audit, detailed cost-control analytics, and a number of troubleshooting functions including an ingenious "instant replay" feature that lets IT staff rewind the packet-by-packet history of network traffic to see exactly what was going on when a problem occurred.
These tools are key, the company contends, because hybrid communications networks are more vulnerable to problems than simpler network setups. They typically encompass equipment from multiple vendors. Their very complexity tends to obscure causes of failure. Performance becomes an issue when VoIP enters the picture. And, again, due to the overall complexity of hybrid solutions, cost containment can be difficult.
To fulfill its mission, VXTracker collects and aggregates data from switches, PBX, routers, phones, and whatever other critical media servers are included in the network. It then normalizes the data, synchronizes it, and makes it available to management via multifaceted graphical user interface.
SyncVoice has current deployments ranging from about 50 extensions up to 25,000 extensions spread over 26 sites. The company sees an addressable market of about 12,000 larger enterprises and 420,000 mid-market companies, totaling a possible $4 billion in sales.