Friday, January 30, 2009

Virtually Dedicated Buzzword Bingo

Once in while I see something written that defies explanation that makes me wonder if the author is joking or is attempting to be serious. I ponder on the source of their confusion. Is this because the author's exposure to the real world has been severely limited not unlike a boy raised by dogs and they simply just do not know better? Perhaps they are set in their ways and they can not help the fact they jut do not get it and as such, a bit jaded? However, as much as I do get a kick out of oxymoron babble on parade, I fear their audience may take them seriously on occasion if the buzzword bingo does get out of control. Sometimes these authors can go ramshackle with the facts, mixing terms that make no sense, yet sound credible but are not. Consider the fragment from a technical blog which leaves me thinking - what???
Voice and UC are currently software-centric solutions dependent on servers for call control and applications processing, so naturally XXXXX would think about offering a full hardware/software package based on virtually dedicated servers. XXXXX's UC offerings are becoming too-server intensive: virtually dedicated servers would eliminate a lot of server hardware and lower costs.

What is wrong with this notion is voice or more precisely IP Telephony and Unified Communications (ok - all things VoIP) has been widely accepted as a networked application running on low cost server platforms and as a bolt-on to the traditional PBX known as a hybrid system. For this discussion, I will stick to the low cost server platform. This server platform is the same platform which can support E-Mail system such Lotus from IBM, or Microsoft Exchange. It can support database systems such as Oracle, mySQL, or Microsoft SQL. It can support operating systems such as various Linux incarnations, various Windows incarnations, various proprietary UNIX incarnations and other OS of your choosing. These can be managed by a wide range of management platforms from main stream vendors. It is a generic general purpose platform for the most part with minor variation from vendor to vendor which amounts to technical hair splitting. What is variable here are the hardware capabilities. Like your own PC, you can buy better more capable systems – more expensive systems which do more things faster and better with greater redundancy. Dedicated non-mainstream servers are quite rare and quite expensive. They are built in relatively low volume and very special purposed. They do not use commonly used components as you find in other dedicated, high volume, commodity type devices such as video game consoles or DVRs like a TiVo, which are sold at a loss because the manufacturer can sell subscriptions or games and still make a good profit.

But I digress - One analogy I like to use is the Typewriter. It was replaced by the IBM Displaywriter. It was a dedicated computer. This expensive device became obsolete when word processing software simply became another inexpensive application which could run on the personal computer. IP Telephony and the applications which make up Unified Communications are just like this. They are just applications which can exist within networked computing infrastructure. The storage and computing power is distributed and what is important is capability of the environment and the supportability of the environment can be centrally managed – or not.

1 comment:

  1. I think I agree. I have implemented Asterisk, and if I recall correctly, the "server" was $800 bucks.