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New Switchvox Products Highlight Role of Hardware

Submitted by on Thursday, 29 August 2013No Comment

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same set of features. This makes it possible to set up a peering relationship between premises and cloud-based servers in a transparent way so that users don’t know the difference.Consultants and vendors will bring up a lot of factors for you to consider when purchasing a phone system for a small or medium-size business. The highest-profile of these is the choice between premises and cloud solutions. The central element here is cost, especially the difference between large upfront expenditures with premises vs. the modest but never-ending monthly fees of cloud services.

Another key factor is the different features and functions each solution offers. This has some relation to the first factor, in that cloud solutions may offer small companies more capabilities than whatever low-end premises solution they can afford. The least attention-getting factor is mundane technical issues involving hardware. But ignoring this last factor could be a big mistake.

A couple of new Digium products highlight the importance of hardware. The products, the Switchvox models 450 and 470 premises appliances, boast technical upgrades that substantially boost performance over that of previous Switchvox appliances. On first glance the upgrades may seem like little more than a case of spec sheet polishing – that is, giving products a shinier image than those of the competition. But in fact, the improvements make considerable difference in real life.

The most significant of the upgrades is a switch from hard-drive to solid-state data storage. Also important are a six-fold increase in memory capacity and a tripling of processor power. The changes produce noticeable results. The most obvious is greater capacity in terms of the number of users the appliances can handle: The two have recommended limits of 500 and 600 employees respectively, compared to some 400 for previous appliances. But they also simply function better in day-to-day use.

The solid-state storage, for one thing, means there is no need to wait for a hard drive to spin up. Thus voice mail access and similar operations happen faster. The more powerful processors mean the system can handle more tasks at once, or perform the same number more quickly. This can be crucial in some instances. For example, one Digium customer company sends updates to regional sales managers by broadcast voice mail, a fairly demanding application. Another benefit of the changes is that the products are quite a bit “greener.” Overall size of the appliances is down 40 by percent, weight by 37 percent, and power consumption by 22 percent compared to previous products.

The higher capacity of the appliances is not just about letting Digium sell its products to larger companies. It also provides some assurance to existing customers, says Mark Amick, director of product development. If companies with existing Switchvox phone systems grow, they can now simply move to a higher-capacity appliance. This contrasts with other solutions that handle demands for increased capacity by adding appliances and dividing users among them, Amick claims.

Digium does, however, offer an alternative approach for companies that find their needs increasing incrementally: the cloud service it introduced earlier this year. The main purpose of the introduction was to reach customers that were too small for even a low-end premises system to be cost effective. But the service also lets larger companies with existing appliances add cloud-based users on an as-needed basis. Such additions are easy and convenient because the hosted and premises solutions offer exactly the