Siemens Enterprise Communications is looking to take advantage of virtualization and other technologies to make it easier for enterprises to bring unified communications into their data centers.
Siemens, at the VoiceCon show in Orlando, Fla., on March 23, unveiled OpenScape UC Server 2010, which offers greater virtualization capabilities and a cloud-based model for its UC offerings that run in across multiple platforms.
In addition, Siemens announced a partnership with VMware to create virtualized UC solutions.
Siemens is essentially offering virtualized versions of the solutions in the OpenScape UC platform, according to Paul McMillan, director of technical UC vision and strategy in Siemens' office of the CTO.
"It's another medium to deploy our products into the data center and have them run on a common architecture," McMillan said in an interview.
Virtualization offers businesses a host of advantages, from greater energy efficiency to a smaller data center footprint, he said. Already familiar with server and storage virtualization, customers over the past couple of years had begun asking Siemens for virtualized versions of their UC offerings, McMillan said.
A key step in OpenScape UC Server 2010 is the offering of applications in a software-based virtual appliance, a hardware-agnostic virtual machine packaged with applications that can be managed by an IT administrator's data center tools. All that leads to easier deployment and management, and no vendor lock-in, he said.
Being hardware-agnostic is also a key differentiator for Siemens, McMillan said.
The VMware partnership will extend Siemens' virtualization capabilities.
"Our companies share a common goal of delivering real-time communications as a virtual appliance, thereby enabling UC technologies to leverage the benefits of the VMware platform," Parag Patel, vice president of alliances at VMware, said in a statement.
Siemens is offering hosted editions of the new UC platform for service providers, which can bring UC capabilities to their customers on a pay-as-you-go subscription model. McMillan said the company will lower the financial barrier for businesses interested in UC by providing the applications as the businesses need them, and without businesses having to bring them into their own data centers.
OpenScape UC Server 2010 comes with OpenScape Fusion, an integration capability that enables the UC server to tie together non-Siemens UC systems, Web collaboration systems, social media tools like Twitter and Google Latitude, and Web-based business portals like Salesforce.com.
McMillan said 25 percent of enterprises have adopted UC, but for that number to grow, vendors need to open up their offerings.