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Unified communications and the need for visibility

It is been quite ofetn discussed that how Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud computing are driving the need for visibility. While it is possible to argue that SaaS and cloud computing in their current form are new phenomena, many of the factors that are driving the need for greater visibility have been around for a while, although some have changed over time. Real time communications is a good example of this.

Real time communications used to refer to just VoIP and traditional videoconferencing. More recently, IT organizations have begun to deploy telepresence and unified communications (UC). UC solutions allow real-time access to contact lists and availability information, as well as automatic dialing and teleconferencing services. Another key component of a UC solution is rich-media conferencing that integrates voice, video and Web conferencing capabilities. Based on this breadth of functionality, UC solutions enable companies to tightly integrate communications into their business processes in part by ensuring that it is possible to contact the appropriate people wherever they are in a timely manner using their preferred communications devices and communications modes.

While the bandwidth demands of the applications that comprise a UC solution vary widely, these applications do share some key characteristics. For example, each application is highly visible and the performance of each is negatively impacted by even moderate amounts of WAN delay, jitter and packet loss. The requirement to manage highly visibly, highly demanding UC solutions is another primary driver of the need for visibility.

Now we can shift the discussion from a somewhat abstract discussion of why visibility is important to a more concrete discussion of what one company has been able to achieve. In the mean time we want to hear from you. Do you have the type of visibility into your network that you need to do your job? If so, how do you get that visibility?

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