An Exploration of the Platform Domain of UC
April 10, 2018
At Nectar, we break the world of UC into 3 “health” domains, the platform domain, the network domain, and the endpoint domain. The fact that the UC user experience traverses these 3 health domains, makes it especially challenging to monitor, diagnose, and report on the UC environment, unless you have a tool that provides correlation across the 3 domains. Today’s blog post highlights some additional challenges within the Platform Domain.
The Platform Domain – The Software and Servers Delivering the UC
The Platform Domain encompass all the software and servers delivering UC to your users. The platform domain is the center of the bullseye of any UC deployment. All software runs on servers. Whether virtual or physical, servers have capacity limits in terms of memory, CPU, etc. These servers also have certain environmental factors like temperature that impact their performance. If the servers running your UC deployment are at or near capacity of these components, they will not execute the software as efficiently and user experiences throughout your deployment could be impacted.Even if the servers are running efficiently and well within their limits, software has its own limitations. Sometimes it is as basic as certificates that expire, but it could be a more complex factor involving the software’s ability to handle the transaction volume demands. As a point of reference, Microsoft has published a list of over 70 Key Health Indicators (KHI’s) to monitor the health of Skype for Business as a platform. If the platform domain is not optimized and continually monitored, it will not process the UC conversations properly and the overall user experience will suffer.
The Additional Complexity of a non-Unified Platform Domain
A recent Wainhouse eBook, “UC Performance Management Solutions” explores the promise of unified communications and the challenges of delivering the expected business impact of a UC deployment. The eBook begins with some interesting statistics about the typical enterprise environment. According to Wainhouse, 75% of enterprises use 2 or more different PBX vendors and 33% have active users on 2 or more UC solutions. So, in addition to all the complexity of troubleshooting UC traffic across the 3 domains, most enterprises must try and correlate data from multiple platforms. Wainhouse adroitly points out the limitations of platform manufacturer-provided monitoring tools in terms of looking end-to-end. These limitations are further magnified in a cross-platform deployment. Not only can Cisco or Avaya tools not necessarily reveal what is going on within the network domain, it can offer no insight into what is happening with the Skype for Business users.
Bringing it All Together
For typical enterprises with a typical cross-platform UC deployment, it is critical to identify a monitoring, diagnostics, and reporting tool that can correlate the experience of all users across all domains to deliver on the promise of unified communications.