When considering an investment in Unified Communications (UC) or enterprise communications in general, the first questions that come to mind are: is it reliable? Is It secure? Does it offer business process enabling features through open standards? After all, in today’s competitive environment, communications are a business critical component of your organization’s success. Before making a decision about which system you’ll invest in, what steps do you take in evaluating its attributes?
Here’s a look at how some of the experts do it:
To start, systems are put through a series of rigorous proprietary tests to evaluate security and resiliency. In resiliency testing, vulnerable scenarios are created by subjecting communications platforms to various analyses and scans as well as a complex set of exploits designed to determine product capabilities or applications.
Now that the surface has been scratched, let’s look at some of the test in more detail.
With so many of today’s businesses spread over multiple locations, a favorable system is one with architecture that is highly scalable, reliable and flexible. So what does that mean? Communications servers should be able to easily handle up to 16 calls per second with no failures. In order to do so, they require the ability to detect when a destination party is unavailable across the network and be configured to follow a failover path through the PSTN. The path is designed to automatically switch calls to another server without a noticeable interruption in service.
Load testing is designed to show system resiliency over a protracted period of time by achieving a high number of completed calls when traffic is generated across a system. For example, let’s examine a configuration of a system that’s set up with 6,000 SIP end points with 60 concurrent calls, while generating 100,000 Busy Hour Call Attempts (BHCA) over several days. In this scenario, you could expect a system to average close to 30 call completions per second for an average over 100,000 calls per hour and totaling over 2.4M calls per day. Simple, right? Until testing adds registered users at a rate of about 1 user per second. This is how they reallydetermine if the system offers true high availability.
There are also tests to evaluate standards based compatibility with protocols like SOAP and SIP. Standards testing offers a methodical approach and review of a system’s capabilities.
In the next section, we’ll look at security considerations.