With the release of ShoreTel 14.2, ShoreTel can now be virtualized. For a few releases now, since 11.x, ShoreTel servers were able to run and be supported on VMware ESX hosts. Then shortly after the ECC was able to be virtualized as well. Now all servers (HQ, DVS, ECC and Redundant ECC) are virtualized, what is left? ShoreTel's release 14.2 answers that question.
The ShoreGear appliances that have always been a physical appliance, can now be virtualized. There are two types of virutal appliances, the Virtual IP Phone Switch and the Virtual SIP trunk Switch. If you are running SIP trunks, ShoreTel and Ingate now also have an SBC (software only) Ingate SIParator.
When it comes to Collaboration and Conferencing, ShoreTel now supports a Virutal Service Appliance (i.e. conferencing bridge).
Why do I want this, or why should I care?
Reason 1. Expanded capacity and Scalability
- The Virutal IP Phone switch can support 1000 IP phones, as compared to the SG220 which maxed out at 220 IP phones.
- Make-Me Conference on the Vitual IP Phone switch now supports 60 up from 24.
- Hunt Groups, now can support 40 up from 8 per appliance
- SIP Trunking - The Virtual SIP trunking switch how can support 500 SIP trunks with Media proxy, up from 20
- Conferencing - The Virtual Appliance can support 200 audio/200 web and 2000 IM sessions
Reason 2. Free N+1 Redundancy
With the advent of the virtual IP phone switches and their licensing, you can deploy a virtual IP Phone switch as a Spare for no additional cost.
On ShoreTel virtual switches, you only have to pay for a license if you assign and IP phone to that virtual appliance. Therefore if you have a virtual appliance as a Network Wide spare, if any ShoreGear appliances fail, all the IP resources will fail over to the spare switch. Once the spare switch accepts the registration of the phone, that is when the system will ask you for a Virtual Phone license. This provides you with 45 days to fix the issue and move all the failed over IP phones back to their regular location. Once you do, the count down timer stops and you just used a virutal IP phone switch for $0.00.
Reason 3. Free Instant Messaging
Since release 13.x, ShoreTel has made IM (instant messaging) and the Contacts tab available in the personal level of Shoreware Communicator. Now that you can virtualize the Conference bridge, you can utilize the IM capability for free since you don't need to have any conferencing licennses (Audio or Web) for the IM features to work.