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The Technology Depot

February 17, 2010 - Mitel Announces Truly Virtualized IP Telephony Solution

Mitel Networks is jointly announcing with VMWare a truly virtualized offering of its core 3300 ICP telephony system. To date Mitel is the only manufacturer that is able to do this. Mitel has previously used VMWare's virtualization platform to support a combination of its core telephony and communications application software solutions on a single physical server, including Mitel Communications Director (MCD), Mitel Unified Communicator (UC) Advanced, Mitel Contact Center Solutions and Mitel Enterprise Manager.

A new version of Mitel Communications Director (MCD) generic software, vMCD, will be able to run on a virtual server platform, based on VMWare's vSphere 4, with other third party, i.e. non-Mitel, business applications, such as email, Web server, customer file server and database applications (see diagram below).

mitel diagram

Supporting a mix of communications and third party non-communications software applications is what makes the new Mitel offering unique from previous implementations of virtualization technology by the company and several of its competitors, such as Avaya, Siemens, and Cisco. There is potential for significant cost savings attributable to virtual computing, including: capital savings due to the significant reduction in server hardware and real estate; operational savings with the reduction in power and server provisioning costs; as well as productivity improvements and resource efficiencies in datacenter management and risk mitigation for business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

Latency and jitter would be a potential problem in a virtual computing environment, but Mitel and VMWare have worked together to ensure that the real-time MCD voice application takes precedence over other applications so as not to diminish the quality and integrity customers expect of their telephony system. The new vMCD offer is designed as a virtual appliance that provides traditional call control for the IP path, as well as real-time media streaming support for audio conferencing. Mitel is also planning to release virtual versions of its other existing software solutions, virtual Mitel Applications Suite (vMAS) and virtual Mitel Border Gateway (vMBG), to run in a virtual computing environment.

An option for customers with a currently installed Mitel 3300 system utilizing a dedicated telephony server is to run vMCD in their virtual data center environment as a redundant backup system for disaster recovery purposes. Two distributed virtual data centers, each running vMCD instances, can be used for geographic redundancy requirements (see diagram below). Each software instance of the new vMCD offer will support up to 1,000 users, but multiple instances of the software can run on a virtual server for customers with greater port capacity requirements.

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