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How are virtualization trends affecting enterprise SBCs?

Virtualizing enterprise session border controllers can help reduce business expenses. Networking expert Carrie Higbie Goetz explains how to deploy virtual SBCs successfully.

Today, it seems, everything is virtualized, and the benefits are proven. With the help of virtualization, companies can maximize hardware while lowering power consumption and machine expenses. Not all virtual machines are the same, however, nor is the management of virtual machines.

Additionally, not all applications run well in a virtualized environment. Enterprise session border controllers (SBCs) have very specific purposes, and companies need to ensure nothing is lost in a virtualized environment. As SBCs control access and security for your systems, some companies choose to keep SBCs separate from other applications or use an appliance-based controller.

Since enterprise SBCs set up sessions, security and call routing, you first need to ensure you're not overloading a server. Calls will fluctuate in frequency, time and number, which means you're not working on a predictable load -- especially if you're putting in a new system.

A bank, for example, may have an influx of calls on the first and 15th of each month, when people generally get paid. Calls may be exponentially higher on those days. You need to account for that influx of calls when planning a virtualized enterprise SBC deployment.

You also want to ensure your enterprise SBC will run well based on the hardware selected for your virtual environment. This will be particularly true where an application appliance may use hardware encryption instead of software encryption. If you move the SBC to a software-based environment, any lost functionality may affect your call success.

Many companies do not want to share hardware between departments and functionality. Wherever the enterprise SBC resides could technically be affected by other workings on the same machine. You must ensure anyone touching that platform can't change configurations or other parameters that could cause trouble for your sessions. Some virtual enterprise SBCs, however, are designed to operate in a shared environment.

Do you have a question for Carrie Higbie Goetz or any other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! All questions are treated anonymously.

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