Tech Notes: LifeSize® Transit™ Solution Deployment Options Part One – Single vs. Dual Appliances

Sandeep Lakshmipathy, Product Manager

by Sandeep Lakshmipathy, Product Manager, LifeSize

Widespread adoption of video conferencing for day-to-day communication faces one major hurdle in the eyes of IT administrators – the relative unfriendliness of the network boundaries to video, voice and data traffic. The reason that many IT admins are cautious stems from the fact that unrestricted free flow of bits and bytes can lead to security risks, including:

  • Denial of service attacks
  • Industrial espionage
  • Wrongful usage of server resources through rogue media streams
  • Impersonation
  • Other security risks

As a result, video communication needs to be delivered through a trusted medium that is sensitive to security concerns but also easy to use. This is where the single and dual appliances of LifeSize Transit can pitch in to solve network security concerns.

As previously mentioned, the LifeSize Transit firewall/NAT solution is available as two options:

  • Hardware appliance
  • VMware® virtual machine software

In this installment of our series, let’s look at the hardware appliance option for the LifeSize Transit solution. The hardware appliance offering of LifeSize Transit is attractive for SMBs and large enterprises that have not heavily invested in virtual infrastructure.

There are again two deployment options available here for the customer to choose from:

  • (Transit Server + Transit Client) Hardware Appliances
  • Transit Server Hardware Appliance – Stand-Alone Single Appliance

Hardware Appliance Options

 

(Transit Server + Transit Client) Hardware Appliances

This is the client-server model for firewall and NAT traversal that handles all the usecases that an enterprise comes across while using video conferencing. This is one of the most frequently recommended deployment options to LifeSize customers. Also, from a security standpoint, hardened Linux Operating system runs on both of these Transit appliances.

 

Transit Server Hardware Appliance – Single Appliance, Stand-Alone

LifeSize Transit server stand-alone hardware appliance can be deployed in the “DMZ” in order to enable video conferencing endpoints in the private network to dial external video calls.

In my opinion, the single appliance LifeSize Transit server appliance has the advantage of being the best price-performance firewall/NAT solution on the market today. Also, being standards complaint, all endpoints supporting standards-based firewall/NAT traversal benefit from this. Ideally, this is suited for SMBs that have very few or no infrastructure devices like gateways, gatekeepers and others. Typically, the stand-alone server is a best fit for small video conferencing installations.

For larger deployments of video units when one or more infrastructure units are involved, LifeSize recommends using the dual appliance offering. Having a firewall/NAT server + enterprise proxy (dual appliance) solution as compared to just the server alone has additional advantages.

  • Zero change to network topology
    • Existing video conferencing systems and infrastructure do not need to be moved when you bring in the full LifeSize Transit solution
  • Secure
    • All the video conferencing gear can reside within the private LAN
    • LifeSize Transit server virtual machine is itself secured behind a static 1-1 NAT
    • Hardware appliances are based on the security-hardened Linux operating system
  • Open & interoperable
    • Works with both LifeSize and non-LifeSize video systems that do not have support for any firewall and NAT traversal mechanisms
    • Works with infrastructure products from any vendor
  • Lowest TCO (total cost of ownership) when compared to other firewall and NAT traversal solutions on the market today

In summary, there are advantages to a single appliance LifeSize Transit model and a dual appliance model. Remember, this information applies to hardware devices. In the next post in this series, we will explore virtualized (VMWare) options – which have another set of benefits for your company. Ultimately, all of the LifeSize Transit solutions are designed to make sure that your video conferencing network remains safe and secure, whether you are communicating within your private network or with other networks outside of the firewall.

To learn more about LifeSize Transit deployment options, visit http://www.lifesize.com/Products/Infrastructure/Transit.aspx

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