Evolutionary tack aids shift to IP

Moving a company's infrastructure to Internet Protocol (IP) lessens the burden of keeping up with the latest "moods, fads and changes", according to a communications solutions company.

James Haensly, CTO, Asia-Pacific for Avaya Singapore, said the main benefit to the IT department of delivering a company's voice and data operations via the Internet was a simplification of the management of networks.

"Managing one network is significantly easier and reduces a company's expenses and costs."

He said a converged infrastructure presented new challenges for the IT department in the form of a steep learning curve, policy management issues, deciding who and when people would have access, and challenges concerning priorities for communications within the organisation.

"There is also the matter that users will expect performance to be higher due to the virtualisation. The latency that is acceptable with data communications is unacceptable when dealing with voice."

Haensly said an organisation should take an "evolutionary" approach to its transition to converged networks.

"Companies should first look at their current networks and spending. This information needs to be on hand to do a ROI on current infrastructure. Then technology should be assessed in a trial situation where it will not impact on production and where an organisation is able to find out what the technology does and what it is capable of," Haensly said.

Haensly then recommends an extension of the trial into a part of the organisation that would benefit most from this sort of technology. He said a small pilot area provides a good opportunity for IT staff to experience the management of such networks and to find out what the key issues will be.

"At the end of this trial there should be enough information for an ROI and a thorough understanding of how to best deploy the technology company-wide."

Haensly said at least a two- to three-month trial is warranted with this sort of technology. He also said it was important during each step of the rollout that the applications are tested to ensure they work in each section of the organisation.

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