HPE Ethernet Switches Review

Converging our voice and data networking reduced costs, improved responsiveness to customers and achieved fast ROI.

Here at ECS, we provide business-critical technology solutions for Fortune 500 and mid-level companies. We are an HP Elite Partner that also uses HP solutions to optimize our own business efficiency. Recently, we replaced an outdated voice network with an end-to-end networking and telephony service from the HP and Microsoft Frontline Partnership. The results include lower costs, better internal collaboration and enhanced customer service.

Networking and telephony services are critical – our company’s highly mobile field sales team travels and needs to collaborate quickly and easily with customers as well as with colleagues at our headquarters. We were challenged by an 18-year-old voice and voicemail solution that had grown costly and difficult to maintain. The telephone system, discrete from our data network, was supported by analogue T-1 PRI voice circuits with high monthly voice network charges from a nationwide telecommunications provider.

We sought a more cost-effective IP telephony solution to replace the existing telecommunications system. We needed a proven solution to replace our legacy voice and voicemail system that would ensure our customer communication would continue without disruption. We also wanted to provide our employees with additional capabilities not present in our traditional phone system.

We aimed to convergeour legacy voice system onto our current, highly available HP data network; unify multiple voicemail systems into the company’s Microsoft® Exchange 2010 cluster; and eliminate use of costly third-party Web and audio conferencing tools. In searching for a new solution, we wanted full integration capability with Microsoft® Office; high resilience and performance; sufficient capacity to support IP telephony and other applications; and scalability to support growth.

We considered IP telephony solutions from Avaya, Cisco and others but found them expensive and lacking functionality. We chose HP and Microsoft Unified Communications and Collaboration with Microsoft® Lync™ Instant Messaging, Presence, Web Conferencing and Converged Voice.

Through their worldwide Frontline Partnership, HP and Microsoft have designed and engineered this solution to work seamlessly. We trust the HP/Microsoft Frontline Partnership to provide fully engineered and tested solutions, supported by two outstanding vendors.

The backbone of our end-to-end networking and telephony solution is HP Converged Infrastructure, which brings together server, HP Converged Storage and networking resources with holistic management tools.

We leveraged our existing HP infrastructure with modest additional investments in a third HP ProLiant DL380 Server, a minor upgrade to HP Networking 2910 PoE Switches, and HP 4120 IP phones. The environment runs on Microsoft Windows® 2008 and is virtualized with VMware® vSphere software in a DRS cluster on the ProLiant servers. HP StoreVirtual 4000 Storage provides robust storage with a three-node, scale-out iSCSi cluster; HP Data Protector Software with Veeam backup; an HP StoreEver MSL Tape Library; and HP UPS power protection. HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC) software provides end-to-end management. In addition to Lync, this infrastructure runs all our business applications including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server® and, soon, Microsoft SharePoint®, for approximately 30 workers.

The new communications system simplifies how everyone here works. Frequently on the road, instead of punching in long conference line data I hit “join now” on my smartphone application for fast connections to branded conferences.

At customer sites, I use my HP Spectre Notebook PC for Web Conferencing and Instant Messaging. The Frontline solution improves customer service and enhances internal collaboration—all at a cost of less than half the previous service. We expect to achieve Return on Investment (ROI) in less than two years.

We were able to add capacity to our existing HP Converged Infrastructure to accommodate the new Lync environment. This simple expansion of our virtual environment had the added benefit of providing for a highly- available telephony solution. We then could collapse our separate voice and data networks into single-provider network that provided us with a lower cost solution to meet our overall communications requirements. Our team is rarely in the office together during the day. The HP and Microsoft Unified Communications solution allows us to collaborate very effectively whether in the office, mobile or remote.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station has made contact with the reviewer to validate that the person is a real user. The information in the posting is based upon a vendor-supplied case study, but the reviewer has confirmed the content's accuracy.
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