At VoiceCon this morning I had breakfast with Siemens and VMware in advance of their announcement of a new partnership for the virtualization of real-time communications applications.
The Siemens-VMware strategic partnership will aim for the virtualization all of Siemens’ UC technologies: OpenScape Voice, Unified Communications and Contact Center.
Mitel has had a slight lead in this area so far. It has had a tight partnership with VMware for about two years and last month it announced that a virtualized version of its call control control applications (Virtual Mitel Call Director) is in production with several companies.
Adrian Brookes (Siemens Vice president in the office of the CTO), told the breakfast table this morning that while competitors have focused on virtualizing specific applications, Siemens is focused on virtualizing its entire real-time communications portfolio. He also said Siemens will be hardware agnostic. It will not tell customers which vendors’ servers to use (a slight knock at Cisco and its Unified Computing System server platform).
He also said Siemens virtualization efforts are based completely on open standards, which will enable customers to choose any hypervisor (once those hypervisor vendors are ready to support real-time communications). As Brian Riggs, research director at Current Analysis, noted, Citrix/Xen is on its way to being ready to support real-time communications but Microsoft’s Hyper-V technology is a much further behind in this area.
Virtualization has become a reality for unified communications and voice thanks in part to VMware’s latest version of vSphere, which the vendor spent the last two years optimizing for real time communications and also the latest Intel Nahalem processor, which gives servers the computing power they need to make these applications work in a virtualized environment.