Enterprises that build a private cloud to house applications, including unified communications (UC) infrastructure, and service providers that deploy software-based session border controllers (SBCs) in data centres are looking more intensely at going the virtualisation route.
A virtual, cloud-based SBC is where functions including encryption and interworking are performed by software exclusively.
South African telecommunications services specialist Q-KON SA, believes virtual, cloud-based SBC is growing in appeal because it eliminates shipping costs and lead times; it offers the same SBC functionality as hardware-based SBCs, offers redundancy and is data centre-friendly.
These functionalities represent valuable advantages for companies that are digitising their environments.
Tjaart de Wet, MD of Q-KON SA, says there are other benefits, including the fact that there are VMWare and Hyper-V options available; that the same SBC can be shared between providers, and that commercial, ‘off-the-shelf’ servers can be used.
However, given the flood of data hitting corporate networks and the pressure on infrastructure as more businesses become digitised, de Wet advises on limitations that do exist.
Solution architects new to network planning with virtual SBC’s very quickly realise specific technical limitations in environments when high capacity interworking or transcoding is required, or when high throughput is called for.
“It is important to consider requirements within the business and what the core objectives are. Once this is clearly identified, then the business can align up with cloud-based, virtual SBC,” de Wet says. “Decision-makers must also consider the capacity of the server to support the software.”
With cloud-based service growing in maturity in South Africa, and relevant solutions coming to the fore, there is every opportunity for businesses to move SBC functionality to the cloud.
However, as de Wet points out, a new alternative is that business view SBC management (SBC-as-a-service) as an additional, fresh business unit.