HP to fortify Lync through branch routers

The least glamorous part of unified communications is usually the infrastructure.

The software gets top billing with its flashy screen and myriad list of features. But it doesn’t work without the nuts and bolts underneath.

Some new infrastructure pieces were unveiled Tuesday at the annual Enterprise Connect communications show, this year held in Orlando, where Hewlett-Packard Co. promised new modules for its multiservice routers, one to harden Microsoft Lync installations, while the other for wide area network acceleration.

Lync is a choice for unified communications among organizations with a big investment in Microsoft tools. But to protect distributed enterprises that need round the clock connectivity Microsoft has created the Survivable Branch Communications Appliance application to connect to a PBX in case the wide area network fails.

Typically it runs on a media gateway or router.

The latest manufacturer to do it is HP, which said it has virtualized the appliance on a blade called the Survivable Branch Module (SBM) that fits into the company’s MSR30 and MSR50 series routers.
(HP’s MSR 50 router)

The routers gives all the networking services like an Ethernet switch, wireless LAN, voice gateway and firewall. With the SBM, Lync survivability is added, which HP says makes a complete business continuity solution.

“It provides a true branch in a box,” Sam Rastogi, HP networking’s manager of global product marketing, said in an interview.

HP is in the process of submitting the MSR Series voice gateways for qualification to ensure that the routers can make and send calls over a public switch telephone network (PSTN).

The solution is expected to be available for purchase in the summer. No pricing was announced.

Another module for HP multiservice routers was announced on what HP calls its Open Architecture Platform, modules that let certain virtualized applications run on the MSR30 and MSR50 routers under VMware vSphere. 

The first supported is the Riverbed WAN optimization solution, which HP said can increase application performance by up to 50 times.

The module is available now. No pricing was announced.

Also at the show HP touted an upcoming version of its 4120 IP deskphones, which have been optimized for Microsoft Office 365. The phones integrate with Office’s contact list and calendars. It will be available in the summer.

Finally, HP [NYSE: HPQ] has just started what it calls the Mobility Transformation Experience workshop for organizations that want advice on setting up unified communications.

Ideally both IT and business managers come to the one-day sessions strategy sessions, said Kitty Chow, worldwide portfolio manager for HP technology services which are aimed at crafting a “pragmatic plan and roadmap” for each customer.

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