September 30, 2014

Why Lync? Why Now?

Unified communications has been around for a long time and has gone through numerous reincarnations, from voicemail in your inbox to email over your phone.  UC is now pushing those boundaries through the mobile frontier with advanced collaboration and video conferencing tools. UC is at an inflection point where many organizations are investing, or investigating IP telephony and UC for their business needs.  The fiscal and operational advantages of UC platforms, like Microsoft Lync, are now coming to the floor.  For organizations that already have a large portion of the Microsoft suite in place, they see Lync as a natural extension; Microsoft applications are ascendant and easily adopted through familiar interfaces and controls end-users already know. 

The landscape is changing to a mobile workforce where BYOD is shifting the dynamics from traditional office requirements.  Large portions of organizations selecting UC are knowledge workers who are mobile and without need for a physical desktop phone.

Today there is huge momentum behind Microsoft Lync.  Microsoft is now a global leader of enterprise grade UC software.  The fact that Microsoft has this degree of momentum shows that it is a serious alternative to other UC vendors.  Lync is the fastest growing business unit at Microsoft with over 30 percent year-over-year growth in 2013, with no slow-down in sight.  Surging this acceleration is adoption through Office365 cloud-enabled UC, which makes Lync more attractive, especially to organizations transitioning to the cloud.

Challenges with Lync

Microsoft Lync deployments are not without challenges and can be quite complex.  Within many customer environments, there are separate telephony teams, application teams and network teams.  One challenge is in reconciling their interest in the pursuit of a successful deployment of Lync.  In this current day and age, organizations look at a new UC platform to save money.  If it does not work seamlessly the first time for their end-users, they will need to be convinced that it will work when they try again. For many organizations, this is problematic; they lack visibility into the performance of Lync that quickly hinders and slows adoption. This lack of visibility into performance, metrics, and diagnostics can yield low quality experiences with an increase in trouble tickets that ultimately reduces ROI for the organization.

Lync is powerful, complex and sophisticated, and at Extreme Networks, our mandate in developing a solution for Lync was to reduce that complexity.

Extreme Networks and Microsoft Lync

Extreme Networks enables simple, fast, and smart deployments of Microsoft Lync through automated QoS and comprehensive analytics across Lync-qualified SDN, wired and wireless infrastructures.  Wherever Lync is part of a UC overlay or communication refresh, our objective with this solution is to optimize user experiences, make it easy to deploy, and get visibility into how it is performing in your network environment.  We do this through our OneFabric Connect solution, NetSight Management tool, OneView reporting, and Purview analytics to make your Lync unified communications Simple, Fast, and Smart.

  • Simple

For end-users, simplicity is critical.  Alongside dynamically supporting QoS for Lync, Extreme provides the management and analytics for organizations to see user, location and device context.  IT teams can drill down and identify call quality issues by switch, software type, and access point and can pinpoint, isolate and correct any of the issues present.  We simplify the management of Lync environments by giving in-depth visibility into what is taking place on the network.

  • Fast

Extreme enables rapid deployment of Lync through automated and adaptive QoS configuration.  With high performance, real-time network transport for “morphing” application traffic, IT teams can quickly identify, isolate, and resolve application or network issues.  In one of our customer examples, they were able to deploy QoS to roughly 1,200 endpoints in a matter of hours.  That’s fast.

  • Smart

Many organizations have made a large investment on their UC platform, but is the network transporting the UC “smart”? Smart includes end-to-end reporting, not just on the wired or wireless environment of the network; it is completely focused on the application, network and user elements.  Analytics and in-depth reporting are so critical to have because in order for a Lync implementation to work at scale, the network has to know what is going on.  If a solid first impression is made on end-user’s that provides a great user experience, increased user adoption naturally happens and delivers ROI the business demands.

Microsoft Lync Orchestration

A successful integration does not end with Lync; it includes the wired and wireless infrastructure that extends down to the data center.  Extreme high performance switching architecture can help integrate Lync today supporting Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Network Virtualization platforms, alongside various application offerings in your data center.  This will allow your organization to more easily deploy and manage Microsoft environments.

Extreme delivers this today and provides a migration path for organizations towards future enhancements.  Having a deep partnership and collaboration with Microsoft is a key strategic element for our customers.  Pair that with our high-performance network hardware and pervasive software portfolio, and that will provide organizations with holistic network automation, visibility and control through evolutionary SDN integration – deployable at scale TODAY.

If you would like to learn more about Extreme Networks integration with Microsoft Lync please click here.

About The Contributor:
Markus NispelVice President Solutions Architecture and Innovation

Markus Nispel is the Vice President Solutions Architecture and Innovation at Extreme Networks. Working closely together with key customers his focus is the strategic solution development across all technologies provided by Extreme. In his previous role he was responsible as the Chief Technology Strategist and VP Solutions Architecture for the Enterasys Networks solutions portfolio and strategy, namely NAC Network Access Control, SDN Software Defined Networks, DCM Data Center Management, MDM Mobile Device Management Integration, OneFabric, OneFabric Connect and OneFabric Data Center as well as the network management strategy. This position is tied to his previous role in Enterasys as Director Technology Marketing and as a member of the Office of the CTO. In addition to this role he advises key accounts on a worldwide basis in strategic network decisions. Before its activity for Enterasys Markus Nispel was active as system Engineer at Cabletron Systems. Markus Nispel studied at the university of applied sciences in Dieburg and graduaded 1996 as Dipl. – Engineer for communications technology. He collected first professional experience at E-Plus Mobile Communications within the group of network optimization of their DCS cellular mobile network.

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