Troubleshooting Unified Communications

Michael Vizard

To listen to all the marketing hype surrounding unified communications, you might think getting these applications to work is easy. But given the sensitivity of these applications to even the slightest IT infrastructure issue, it's little wonder that even the most experienced IT professionals are looking for a little help when it comes to deploying unified communications.

That's one of the big reasons Toshiba Telecom has partnered with Apparent Networks, a provider of network monitoring tools that allow IT organizations to not only see what is happening inside their own organization, but what issues might be emanating from their service providers.

Eric Abing, a product manager Toshiba Telecom, says it's exceedingly difficult to tell a customer there is a problem with their IT infrastructure without some demonstrable proof. At the same time, if you're going to tell a service provider that there is an issue with their network, you need to be able to prove that as well. In fact, Apparent Networks offers a free service that identifies network bottlenecks and outages in the public cloud ecosystem.

Interestingly enough, Abing says that just as often, a tool such as PathView from Apparent Networks can forestall infrastructure upgrades. A lot of customers just assume they need to upgrade their network infrastructure to run unified communications when in fact the existing systems are just fine; they are just poorly configured. The one thing that applications such as unified communications do accomplish quickly is exposing flaws in the underlying IT infrastructure.

But as Abing notes, rather than playing endless rounds of the blame game that only serve to postpone the deployment of unified communications, the better part of valor is to do a full audit of the performance characteristics of the IT infrastructure before anybody gets embarrassed by deploying a new application that performs poorly.

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