Five Ways Containerized eSBCs Optimize Teams, Zoom & Other Cloud Communications DeploymentsBrett Crandall
Enterprises are using Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solutions like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and Contact Center as a Service Solutions (CCaaS) like Five9 and Genesys to improve communications, simplify operations, and accelerate IT agility. As the COVID-19 outbreak clearly demonstrated, UCaaS and CCaaS solutions are ideal for delivering enterprise communications services to remote workers, mobile users, and small/home offices. Cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions have helped companies survive, and even thrive, throughout the pandemic.
UCaaS and CCaaS platforms change the way enterprises deliver and consume services, and reshape enterprise communications flows. Many businesses are re-architecting their networks and moving critical communications infrastructure to the cloud to improve support for on-demand services and mobile users.
Not long ago, most employees worked in corporate offices and used on-premises IP-PBXs or Unified Communications platforms to communicate with colleagues and customers. Most companies used on-premises enterprise session border controllers (eSBCs) to terminate SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunks and to extend enterprise communications services to remote workers and small offices over the internet.
(SIP trunks provide cost-effective IP-based connectivity to the PSTN. An eSBC is a specialized network element that encrypts UCaaS/CCaaS traffic, thwarts denial of service attacks, assures interoperability, and provides media prioritization and service assurance tools.)
Cloud-Based eSBCs Improve UCaaS/CCaaS User Satisfaction
These days, more employees work outside of a traditional office. They use cloud communications services to engage customers and coworkers from any location—home, Starbucks, hotel room—at any time. It doesn’t make sense to route their PSTN calls through SIP trunks that are terminated on an on-premises eSBC. Unnecessarily steering PSTN traffic through an on-prem eSBC can add network latency and impair user experiences. Worse still, if there is an equipment failure, power outage or some other type of disaster in the corporate data center, remote employees (who don’t use the corporate network to connect to the cloud) lose PSTN connectivity and can’t place or receive outside calls. Many enterprises are rearchitecting their networks and moving eSBC functionality into the cloud to reduce latency, improve resiliency, and increase user satisfaction.
New Choice – Containerized eSBCs that Streamline Cloud Adoption
Forward-thinking vendors are taking a fresh look at eSBC designs for the cloud era. The first eSBCs introduced years ago were special-purpose hardware appliances. Back in the day, enterprises had no other options for terminating SIP Trunks and securing VoIP traffic. Over time, vendors introduced software-based or virtualized eSBCs that ran on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware for better economics. More recently enterprises have turned to virtualized eSBCs that run on public clouds like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to protect and optimize their real-time IP communications traffic.
Many cloud-centric enterprises are now looking for communications security solutions that are optimized for cloud deployment. Forward-looking eSBC vendors are responding with containerized eSBCs that are more efficient and cost-effective than traditional virtualized solutions. A container is a lightweight software package that includes an application and all its dependencies (binaries, libraries, configuration files, etc.). Unlike a traditional virtual machine (VM) that virtualizes hardware and requires a full virtualized guest OS for each app, a container virtualizes the operating system, eliminating overhead, reducing processor and memory requirements, and minimizing recurring cloud-compute expenses. Containerized apps are easier and cheaper to deploy and scale than conventional virtualized applications. Many cloud-native enterprises are adopting containers to improve economics, and using container orchestration solutions like Kubernetes to accelerate business agility.
Containerized eSBCs can help enterprises take full advantage of cloud simplicity, scalability and cost savings, while maintaining all the features and benefits of a traditional eSBC —strong security, seamless interoperability, and high service quality and availability.
Here are five ways containerized eSBCs can help enterprises streamline cloud adoption and make the most of their UCaaS & CCaaS investments.
1. Simplify Operations
IT operations teams can deploy and administer containerized eSBCs using the same DevOps tools (Kubernetes, Ansible, etc.) they use to manage other cloud workloads. By treating an eSBC just like any other containerized application organizations can remove technology adoption barriers, avoid special product training and expertise, and accelerate time-to-value.
2. Choose Any Cloud
Containerized eSBCs can help organizations increase choice, avoid lock-in, and support hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies. Enterprises can run containerized eSBCs on public clouds like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform or in their own private cloud.
3. Enjoy Pay-as-You-Go Economics
With a containerized approach, the eSBC is decomposed into discrete functional components running in distinct containers as part of a microservices architecture. Enterprises can scale functional components independently to avoid overprovisioning capacity and to contain cloud compute costs. Organizations can spin-up and tear-down eSBC components on-demand to burst capacity and to tightly align ongoing operating expenses with fluctuating business demands.
4. Improve Performance and Resiliency
With containerized eSBCs, enterprises can rapidly re-initiate eSBC components for speedy fault recovery or fast failover. They can implement redundant eSBC components to ensure high availability. And they can distribute traffic across components to balance performance.
5. Streamline Maintenance
Containerized eSBCs make it easy to validate and roll out software fixes and releases. Organizations can perform canary upgrades (validate eSBC software upgrades on a controlled group before putting them into full production) or rolling upgrades (upgrade eSBC components in a staggered fashion to avoid service disruption).
UCaaS and CCaaS solutions can help organizations improve collaboration, simplify operations, and accelerate IT agility. When migrating communications services to the cloud, enterprises should rethink their security and network architectures. By moving eSBC functionality into the cloud, enterprises can optimize service quality, boost user satisfaction, and improve operations.
Containerized eSBCs represent the next stage in the continuous evolution of the session border controller. Designed from the ground up for fast, easy, and efficient cloud deployment, this new generation of eSBCs brings all the benefits of DevOps, containers, and microservices to the world of real-time IP communications and helps ensure strong security and resiliency for cloud-based communications services. Containerized eSBCs can help enterprises streamline cloud adoption, safeguard communications and make the most of their UCaaS and CCaaS investments.