by Sandeep Lakshmipathy, Product Manager, LifeSize
In the previous post in this series, we discussed the advantages of deploying the hardware-based LifeSize Transit server & LifeSize Transit client appliances. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of virtualization and the considerations you should make when evaluating LifeSize’s virtual machine options. For more information about LifeSize’s commitment to virtualization, read our recent press release: LifeSize Joins the VMware Technology Alliance Partner Program.
History and Virtualization Benefits
It’s no secret that virtualization is a hot trend in IT. For an IT environment to be able to manage itself based on perceived activity where users pay for only what is needed while centralizing administration is every IT guy’s dream. And while virtualization has been around since the mid-1960’s (albeit rudimentary at that time) the trend has been virtually non-existent in the video conferencing industry.
At LifeSize, we believe that the many benefits of virtualization can and should be a viable option for our customers’ video environments. LifeSize Transit, for example, can be very useful to an enterprise, especially those that use video conferencing for day-to-day business. Here are some of the benefits of virtualized offerings in an IT video world:
- Try-before-you-buy allows admins to try the solution before purchasing
- Multiple deployment options when coupled with hardware appliances
- Fast set-up is minimal compared to hardware appliances
- Better automation when compared to traditional hardware based appliances
- Easy migration isn’t prone to downtime due to failure of custom vendor hardware – virtual machines can be easily migrated when under lying servers need to be upgraded
- Real-estate savings with virtualization, you can save room in your data center
- Less power is one of the key benefits, as power is one of the main expenses when running a datacenter – virtual machine solutions help reduce number of units that draw electricity from the grid
- Flexibility because hardware obsolescence is not a concern to the enterprise
Even for the SMBs, virtualization is an affordable solution with many advantages. It is no longer exclusive to only big enterprise players in the market. Companies with 250 or less people who have geographically distributed offices see major advantages in virtualization and can reduce the need for dedicated data centers and IT admin staff at each of these locations worldwide.
Virtual Machine Software Options
Since we launched the product, LifeSize Transit has been available to our customers as virtual machine software and hardware appliances. However, the virtual solution comes as two different deployments: server + client and stand-alone server. Let’s take a closer look at these deployment options and the benefits of each:
(Transit Server + Transit Client) Virtual Machine Software
A client-server firewall NAT solution has several advantages. Some of the major benefits of this fully virtualized option are:
- Simple: best for enterprises with few or no other infrastructure products
- Intelligent: single VM supports both SIP & H.323 firewall and NAT traversal
- Interoperable & secure: due to support for Static NAT
- Flexible: easy to bring up a Transit Client virtual machine in each branch office that can connect to the central Transit Server appliance or virtual machine
- Cost-effective: not just in terms of cost of the virtual machine, but also in terms of power savings and existing server hardware utilization. This solution also provides the consumer the best TCO for any firewall / NAT traversal solution that handles SIP & H.323 traversals.
Transit Server Virtual Machine Software – Single VM, Stand-alone
LifeSize Transit Server virtual machine can also be deployed as a stand-alone VM in the enterprise DMZ.
Due to the fact that it’s a single machine solution, the various video conferencing infrastructure elements like Gatekeeper, Gateway, MCU and others need to be placed in the DMZ. Some of the major benefits of this option are:
- Cost-effective: best price-performance ratio when compared to any firewall and NAT traversal solution in the market today
- Simplicity: best for enterprises with few or no other infrastructure products
- Ideal for SMBs who are new to video conferencing
- Single VM supports both SIP & H.323 firewall and NAT traversal
- Interoperable & secure due to support for Static NAT
LifeSize Transit solution leverages all the benefits that VMware virtualization provides to enterprises. In the next and final post, we will look at how the virtual machine offering of LifeSize Transit can be mixed with existing hardware appliance and the kind of flexibility the entire solution delivers.