In this blog article we will analyze modern Unified Communications market trends in detail, and discuss how they actually compare with the UC solution features and the technical characteristics.
Hosted, Managed, or Cloud? Or Something Else?
Whether you are looking for a ready-to-buy UC solution or thinking about building one, the question of hosted, managed, or cloud is usually the first question that arises when a new service is added.
Let’s first review what each category means.
Hosted means that the solution’s infrastructure maintenance and management is done by the organization using the solution. The infrastructure includes the network connectivity, server space, and processing resources.
Managed means that the infrastructure described above is handled by a third party. This third party is responsible for the whole infrastructure while the organization uses the solution’s services.
A cloud-based solution belongs to the managed solutions category. The difference is that cloud resources can be easily increased or decreased, and, most importantly, you only pay for the resources you need.
The whole idea behind the cloud is to hide complexity and offer a platform that is easy to upgrade / reduce when needed.
If compared to a water supply, the cloud is similar to having water supplied through a municipal utility. The person using the water simply turns on the tap and uses what he/she needs and is billed accordingly. This individual is not responsible for the actual infrastructure involved, such as the pipes that supply the water or the storage facility where the water is kept.
On the other hand, a hosted solution is like having your own water tank on your property. In this scenario, the individual is responsible for keeping water in the tank, as well as ensuring that the pipes connecting his/her residence are in proper working order.
This type of division does not translate well to real-world UC scenarios. A company might want to host a Unified Communication solution on its servers (for confidentiality reasons) but also use aspects of the cloud model (for example, paying only based on the number of users actually accessing the system).
What is the “Real Cloud”?
Cloud telephony has become a buzzword used by telecom operators to refer to the Internet or host-powered versions of their services. In other words, instead of using dedicated lines to perform phone calls, VoIP is used.
In these cases, Cloud PBX or Cloud UC does not mean a platform that the customer can work on, modify, and expand, as implied by the Cloud portion of the name. It is a platform with a predefined, restricted set of features, which is billed on a subscription basis, as telecom operators have done since the invention of the telephone.