Aastra points to good momentum with its MX-ONE communications server for medium and large enterprises, including a 30 percent increase in sales for 2011. MX-ONE (originally from Ericsson and acquired by Aastra in 2008) is highly scalable with support for 15,000 SIP users per server, or 500,000 users in a multi-server configuration. The system comes as a pre-configured, turnkey server solution installed on an HP or Dell platform. Or, a software-only version can run on a standard server or VMware virtualized server.
The latest MX-ONE 5.0 is a major release that focuses on multimedia communications and important trends, namely mobility (the Bring Your Own Device or BYOD trend) and the growing use of video. Aastra also adds new resiliency options within a VMware virtualized environment, making the MX-ONE system a good option for data centers and private or service provider cloud-based (hosted) environments.
What’s New with MX-ONE 5.0?
BluStar: Video Collaboration and Mobility
Aastra has been expanding its BluStar portfolio, adding support for this technology across a number of devices, including PCs, laptops and Apple iOS devices. The first product in the line, the BluStar 8000i media phone, was made generally available in November 2011 in North America and Western Europe. The BluStar 8000i is a personal video desktop phone, provisioned as a native endpoint, which combines audio, HD video conferencing (three-way video with video license) and unified communications into a single functional display device. The BluStar Application Server can be deployed to enable larger conferences, up to 100-way video and 11 faces simultaneously on-screen.
Now, Aastra is introducing the BluStar collaboration technology as client software for other devices, including a UC client for Windows PCs (available now) and a mobile client for the Apple iPhone and iPad (available 2H2012), making it possible for users, especially remote workers, to choose the device that is most convenient for them and be able to collaborate with colleagues using video (two-way video initially; three-way video later in 2012 for the Windows PC client). The Windows PC client will have additional UC functionality such as instant messaging, directory look-up and flexible search options. A plug-in option enables the Windows PC client to integrate with Microsoft Lync and IBM Sametime clients.
Virtualization and the Cloud
Aastra notes that virtualized deployments of MX-ONE are on the rise, particularly in the Nordic region where over 50 percent of installed systems are already running on the VMware platform. Businesses are leveraging the potential of virtualization to consolidate IT infrastructure and add resiliency within their data center environment. Virtualized unified communications (UC) also lends itself to cloud-based or hosted UC environments.
Aastra first announced virtualization support in 2010, which enables the MX-ONE call manager (also Aastra’s Clearspan and Aastra 5000 call managers) to run alongside other Aastra unified communications (UC) applications on a single virtualized server. Aastra has tested the call manager running together with its Solidus eCare software for contact centers, OneBox for unified messaging and the Aastra Provisioning software on a single server. This reduces several servers down to one and makes the solution a good option for companies that are looking to consolidate hardware and incorporate telephony components into their IT infrastructure.
With MX-ONE 5.0, the company’s Aastra Mobile Client Controller (AMCC) can also run on a virtualized server, eliminating the need for the separate server which has been required to support UC functionality such as presence, instant messaging and directory search on popular smartphones. In addition, Aastra introduces support for two new redundancy options: VMware High Availability and VMware High Availability/Fault Tolerance in which a secondary mirrored server can take over call control seamlessly.
MX-ONE 5.0 supports a new simplified licensing method that allows multiple device licensing per SIP user, so each user can have four devices that are registered to one directory number. Two new SIP desk phones are available, the 6735i and 6737i, with a Gigabit interface and Aastra’s Hi-Q audio technology, as well as the new 650c SIP-DECT handset with Bluetooth interface, color display and support for Cat-iq, a new DECT standard for HD voice.
The MX-ONE 5.0 functionality is available now worldwide. Current MX-ONE customers with a software assurance subscription can upgrade their software for free. The Blustar client for iPhone and iPad will be generally available in the second half of 2012.