Monthly Archives: September 2012

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Evolution of Virtualized Voice

Virtualization has come a long way since its inception. In fact, it’s evolved so much that we’re now able to virtualize telephony hardware in addition to computing infrastructure. In this post, we’ll take a moment to look back at this evolution of virtualization and see how voice became part of the equation.

The concept of virtualization first emerged back in the early 1960’s and was pioneered by International Business Machines (IBM). This early version of virtualization focused on partitioning mainframe computers into separate virtual machines so the entirety of the expensive mainframe could be used more effectively.

Though groundbreaking and instrumental in the development of today’s server virtualization, the adoption of mainframe virtualization slowed significantly when x86 servers and desktop deployments became industry standard protocol for organizations in the 1980s and 1990s. The x86 platform was less expensive and beneficial for many but was not designed for virtualization the way mainframes were, leading virtualization to take a backseat during the rise of the x86 server.

Eventually, the growth in x86 server and desktop deployments led to new IT challenges, including low hardware utilization, increasing physical infrastructure and IT management costs, and insufficient failover and disaster protection.

In response to these issues and market need, VMware® (today’s market leader in virtualization) and a handful of other companies introduced the server virtualization platform in the late 1990s. This was a big step forward for IT in that it allowed organizations to condense their computing infrastructure and maximize computer performance by allowing two or more virtual machines to co-exist on one server.

It transformed what was previously strictly a “one server, one application” structure, into a “one server, multiple applications” model. In other words, you could maintain both a Microsoft Windows virtual machine and a Mac OS X virtual machine on one piece of hardware.

Now that modern server virtualization has been around for over a decade, its minor nuances and quirks have largely been fine-tuned and perfected by VMware, hardworking service providers and a sizable user community.

However, there was one area where virtualization did not work for quite some time: real-time applications. The ability to virtualize hardware could not apply to real-time applications, such as voice systems, due to operational time delay. A 4-second delay in delivery might not impact an email message, but such latency would compromise the effectiveness of phone and teleconference usage.

That’s where Mitel® and VMware® came in.

Together, Mitel® and VMware®, broke this latency barrier between real-time and non-real time business applications, enabling Mitel’s unified communication applications to operate on VMware’s virtualized platform and delivering the only fully-integrated, natively-run virtualized voice solution.

This means that today, not only can you virtualize your computing infrastructure, but your telephony hardware can be condensed right along with it, streamlining your communications network so you can maximize IT resources, improve energy efficiency and increase savings.

Like server virtualization, virtualized voice is now a well-established solution used by businesses everywhere and supported by a large base of expert providers in addition to a deep, knowledgeable user community.

If you’d like to know more about virtualized voice, don’t hesitate to use our experts’ recognized knowledge to your advantage. We can dive into the technical components of the evolution of virtualized voice and can help answer any questions you may have.