Avaya is introducing the IP Office release 8.1 in late July 2012. I have been working with IP Office since 2005, release 3.0, so I have certainly seen many changes with the product over the years. Our company, Digitcom, takes great pride in selling and servicing the IP Office, and with this new release I can confidently say that this is the most significant release yet (and yes, I say this with every release), not with respect to features because there seem to be very few new added features, but, with respect to the hardware architecture.
Avaya is introducing a new license called “Server Edition”. Server Edition is an IP Office running on a Linux platform. Essentially, it is possible to install the main IP Office OS on a server, and to either run the entire phone system through this server, and / or, to install a secondary IP Office V2 cabinet for PSTN access, or as a remote gateway at the same, or remote site from the primary Linux server.
Nothing changes with respect to the core cabinet, IP Office 500 V2 still exists, however, the option is available to move the “brains” and primary call processing to a Linux server. This server maintains all of the programming and admin of all of the other Linux servers and IP Office 500 cabinets sitting in the network. The capacity of the IP Office still remains at 32 sites in one network, however, it is now possible to support up to 1,000 extensions on one image and at one, or distributed sites. This image can be maintained and programmed on the one Linux Server Edition, can optionally be redundant across a second server, and all programming single image supported for all other hardware Linux and / or IP 500 V2 cabinets on the network.
This upgrade brings the IP Office product into a new market space and opens a tremendous amount of opportunity for Avaya (and Digitcom of course as well). Avaya has always had an Enterprise product, Communications Manager / Aura, but, the new Avaya IP Office Server Edition clearly crosses into the market space of the CM product line. The IP Office is managed using a very friendly interface and is priced for the SMB market … this now makes Avaya very competitive in what would have priced Avaya out of market both in terms of complexity with CM, and certainly price with respect to CM. Yesterday’s mid market is now today’s SME market. Competition is clearly increasing, not with respect to premise based solutions, that is no longer Avaya’s primary competition, but with hosted / cloud solutions that hang over the CPE market like a dark cloud (no pun intended).
Some highlighted changes with this new release:
New license – Server Edition
A increase from the current capacity of 384 extensions on a single cabinet to 1,000 end points in a network (with up to 500 end points on a single server)
Single site license management
100 voice mail ports
200 One X Portal users sharing the same Linux server
500 One Portal users on a dedicated server
500 users / Linux server
All administration focused on the server management web portal, termed Web Control
If the deployment is an IP only solution, then the Linux server is the only device required. If TDM architecture (analog phones, digital ports, PRI) is required then an IP Office 500 cabinet would also be required. The IP 500 cabinet becomes a gateway supporting the TDM ports. Otherwise, for an all IP solution then only the Linux cabinet(s) is / are required.
Resiliency is also still supported of course, and in this regard, the resiliency with the Server Edition is done in a similar fashion as the IP Office 500 V2. IP phones, and voice mail can fail over between systems, and the IP phones will reregister between boxes.
When purchasing server edition there is no need to purchase the Essential or Preferred edition … this is a new license. Server Edition supports Office Worker, Power User, and the receptionist license only. The ADVANCED edition cannot be added to the Server edition. You cannot add Contact Store, or CCR to the Server Edition license – yet.
It will be possible to migrate a number of existing IP 500 V2 cabinets with distributed licenses to a single image centralized license on the one server … essentially, you can turn an existing IPO distributed design into a single image design and maintain and migrate all licenses in the process.
If you need help assessing a voice solution, or have an existing IP Office system and need help, let Digitcom know. You can reach us at 416-783-7890, and press “1″ for sales.
Tentative general availability is late July 2012.