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Disaster Recovery Solutions that Work

There is little question at this point that cloud-based Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solutions offer tremendous benefits when it comes to backing up, maintaining, and then restoring critical operating environments following a sudden and unexpected outage.

But the fact remains that not all DRaaS platforms are the same. Depending on the needs of the organization and the dependencies of legacy infrastructure and business applications, some DRaaS options are better suited than others—and some could even end up impairing recovery time, or at the very least cost far more than is necessary.

To choose the right architecture of DRaaS for your organization, it helps to understand the fundamentals of the technology and how they affect such critical attributes as security, reliability, operational flow, and cost structures.

Cost containment

The main value proposition that DRaaS brings to the table is the switch from Disaster Recovery (DR) as a capital expense to an operational expense. Cloud-enabled as-a-service-based technology, DRaaS allows businesses to maintain fully replicated secondary environments and production-level infrastructure without the cost of building a duplicate data center that could sit idle for years before serving its purpose. At the same time, DRaaS provides an even greater level of protection by being highly portable. If one support facility is taken down, DRaaS can be easily mirrored to another site. All the while, DRaaS providers have a vested interest to ensure that their services are at the head of the pack and will therefore invest heavily in the latest technologies, the best security, and other features.

Two critical elements in selecting a DRaaS provider are the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and the Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO is a measure of system downtime as it affects core business operations. An e-commerce site, for instance, would have a much shorter RTO than a B2B manufacturer, since every minute of downtime represents lost sales. RPO is a measurement of how far back in time data recovery should extend. Some enterprises might need to restore days or weeks of data, others might require minutes.

DRaaS service providers should also exhibit high proficiency in a number of attributes, among them:

  • Design. A DRaaS partner should be highly adept at replicating your existing environment remotely and then responding quickly to an outage. This usually requires a holistic approach to match the recovery environment with all existing hardware, software, and related resources, as well as business processes and objectives.
  • Testing and documentation. Business is evolving at the speed of data these days, so constant vigilance is needed to ensure changes, incompatibilities, and other detriments to a smooth recovery are quickly identified and eliminated. At the same time, it is important not to let test procedures interfere with ongoing production operations.
  • Management and recovery. Top providers do more than just implement cutting-edge technology. They should also have the expertise and professionalism to ensure smooth data protection and recovery operations. This should encompass the skills needed to solve problems that are unique to every enterprise and provide real-time support when time is of the essence.

Getting all of this right is a huge challenge, which is why many organizations turn to seasoned service providers to ensure a successful DRaaS deployment. At CBTS, we work closely with all cloud providers to ensure clients receive a state-of-the-art solution that maintains deep ties to much of the leading business productivity software deployed in their existing production environments.

The CBTS way

We begin by conducting a complete assessment of all data recovery needs, including RTOs, RPOs, system dependencies, and the like. We also conduct walk-throughs of common DR scenarios and perform a thorough analysis of performance data.

From there, we design and implement an optimal solution featuring both physical and logical characteristics, including replication software at each site. This is backed up by a full complement of DR procedures, subject to regular review by stakeholders.

Finally, we validate and document the entire system by syncing and testing the primary and secondary environments, defining recovery and live test procedures, and creating the full run-book documentation.

Few enterprises have the in-house expertise to navigate this complicated process alone, and relying solely on a cloud provider can produce results that are more beneficial to the provider than the enterprise. With an experienced partner like CBTS on your side, however, you can be sure you’ll get the right DRaaS environment the first time, and that it will continue to evolve with your business needs rather than lock you into a digital ecosystem incapable of meeting the challenges of tomorrow.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can help build your DRaaS environment.


What does a successful migration to the public cloud look like?

The cloud has proven itself to be a valuable resource in the continuing struggle to expand data environments, improve flexibility and performance, and lower the overall cost of IT infrastructure.

But even as the cloud enters its third decade, there is still much to be learned about optimizing disparate resources and migrating workloads to a public cloud environment. As demand for robust, reliable data services increases in the era of 5G and the Internet of Things, organizations of all sizes and across all industries face continuing pressure to get the cloud right.

Building an effective cloud migration plan

The key to meeting this challenge is first determining what a successful cloud migration looks like and then constructing an effective architecture that reduces risk and improves efficiencies during the migration and afterward.

Fortunately, AWS—the world’s leading cloud provider—has established a template of sorts to help organizations achieve optimal results in their cloud. The AWS Well-Architected Framework lays out the five pillars of a successful cloud:

  • Operational Excellence – The ability to run and monitor systems to deliver business value and continually improve supporting processes and procedures.
  • Security – The ability to protect information, systems, and assets while delivering business value through risk assessments and mitigation strategies.
  • Reliability – The ability of a system to recover from infrastructure or service disruptions, dynamically acquire computing resources to meet demand, and mitigate disruptions caused by misconfigurations, transient network issues, or other causes.
  • Performance Efficiency –The ability to use computing resources efficiently to meet system requirements, and to maintain that efficiency as demand changes and technologies evolve.
  • Cost Optimization –The ability to run systems to deliver business value at the lowest price point.

With this framework in hand, enterprise technicians and consulting specialists have a clear idea of what success in the cloud looks like, and this can then be used to guide the migration to a successful conclusion. As a certified partner in the Well-Architected Framework program, CBTS has mastered these five pillars in our drive to deliver exceptional cloud experiences to all of our clients.

In the realm of operational excellence, for example, our architectures adopt the key design principles laid out in the framework. These include the performance of operations as code; the ability to make small, reversible changes and refine procedures frequently; as well as the ability to anticipate failures and learn from them. This level of flexibility is crucial given the rapid pace of change in today’s digital economy and the need to continually evolve to meet new challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

When dealing with security, we have incorporated the framework’s key design principles governing identity monitoring, traceability, multi-layer protection, and automated monitoring and response. With AWS’ Shared Responsibility Model, CBTS clients can be assured that physical-layer infrastructure remains secure while higher-level structures can be customized around individual workloads and compliance requirements.

The journey and the destination

A well-designed cloud is only one aspect of a successful migration, of course. Equally important is the execution, and this is where an experienced partner can be invaluable. At CBTS, our goal is to provide end-to-end support for the full migration and afterwards, when the new cloud environment is running production workloads. To that end, we provide a full suite of design options to ensure the right resources are being applied to the right workloads. From there, we create a seamless, highly secure migration strategy that keeps disruption to a minimum while enabling a swift, smooth transition from the old working architecture to the new. And finally, we offer a wide range of managed service offerings in which our IT professionals take over day-to-day operational requirements, leaving the client’s staff to concentrate on mission-critical strategic initiatives.

The cloud remains an important resource for the enterprise, primarily because it offers an opportunity to try new things and function at levels that exceed the capabilities of traditional infrastructure. But a cloud without order leads to digital chaos, as many organizations that failed to implement the proper controls early on came to understand, and regret.

By partnering with CBTS, organizations gain the best of the cloud–unlimited resources, low operating costs, and cutting-edge tools–without the worry. By delivering top performance, security, scale, and availability using a proven framework developed by the company that invented the cloud, our clients are in a prime position to excel into the next phase of the digital economy.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can manage your next cloud migration.

Take control of third-party programs with proprietary AWS platform solution

With so much business being conducted through mobile and web applications, many forward-thinking enterprises are relying on specialized programs that facilitate transactions and give end-users the tools to customize their products and services.

In many cases, these applications are hosted by third-party entities on exterior platforms. This allows organizations to operate an application while reducing the burden on the rest of its developers. However, the benefits of a proprietary application hosted on a first-party Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform solution are also becoming apparent.

Choosing quality over convenience

Fischer Homes, a home builder founded in 1980 and based in Kentucky, was one such organization that decided to take direct control of a proprietary application using a first-party AWS environment.

As an extensive enterprise that has experienced substantial growth over the last 20 years and has amassed a portfolio of more than 20,000 homes built in five states, Fischer Homes found itself in need of a technology solution that provides its customers with a value-added service. This solution took the form of Sapphire, a third-party application that allows customers to calculate costs, source materials, and plan out the design and construction of their homes. Originally, this application was hosted on an exterior AWS platform managed by the software vendor that managed Sapphire.

Eventually, Fischer Homes made the call to take more direct control of the hosting and management of its Sapphire application by migrating it to a first-party AWS environment. This required the careful examination of the proper network architecture that would be needed to ensure the application performed at peak efficiency and remained accessible to customers.

CBTS and AWS, partnering for success

To facilitate a successful transition to a first-party AWS platform, Fischer Homes turned to the experts at CBTS for assistance. Their goals were to solve the issue of slow performance, minimize dependence on cloud computing, reduce the total cost of ownership, and strengthen network security.

As an Advanced Consulting AWS partner, with over 50 AWS certifications, CBTS is your trusted partner to ensure your journey to the public cloud is a success.  

CBTS went about meeting these goals by launching a site audit to diagnose the cause of Sapphire’s connection and performance bottlenecks. CBTS also reviewed the current architecture of Fischer Homes’ AWS environment to design a Well-Architected Framework (WAF), outline best practices for security, and establish a roadmap for the building of Fischer’s new environment.

CBTS assessed potential risk exposure during the planning phase, configured private subnets that limited exposure of private IP addresses, and deployed proactive and automated network protection measures—providing a window of visibility and real-time insights into the operational health of the network.

As a result, CBTS determined that the performance bottlenecks were related to the central processing units of end-users, the size of which directly affected application performance. To solve this issue, CBTS proposed the implementation of a managed remote desktop service, which would make up the difference in processing power when users with weaker CPUs could still access the Sapphire application with minimal loss of performance.

The case of Fischer Homes and its Sapphire application demonstrates that hosting an application through a third party to save on operation costs doesn’t always lead to favorable client outcomes. When an AWS solution is purpose-built for your organization, you can see the benefits in greater control over connection quality and a better user experience for your customers.

Contact CBTS for more information on how a customized AWS platform can deliver better performance for your applications.

Bridge to the Cloud: Why Cloud-delivered SD-WAN is critical

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology is showing rapid growth. Cloud-delivered SD-WAN is becoming increasingly relevant in an age of cloud computing.

Part of the reason for its success and popularity is its versatility. It offers users a measure of control, ease of management, and visibility into private, public, and wireless networks. Cloud-delivered SD-WAN also simplifies the deployments of updates. Furthermore, it can automatically route the flow of data and address traffic impediments across multiple transports.

This versatility has allowed enterprises to transform their networks with new cloud-powered capabilities. This is especially helpful now when the volume of traffic between branch offices and remote employees has climbed steadily for several years and recently spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cloud-delivered SD-WAN solutions also tend to lower costs by utilizing more affordable connection methods. These methods make deployments and updates easier to manage.

The Time to Buy-in is Now

The growing interest in SD-WAN can be seen globally. Different sectors are catching on to the trend at different rates. Industries and regions that aren’t yet planning ahead to capitalize on this evolving technology may miss out on an opportunity to effectively harness the power of cloud computing.

The time to buy in is now, before your competition outpaces you.

More than 40 software vendors have been associating with the SD-WAN space over the last two years. Many are traditional networking vendors pivoting their business models to include cloud-delivered SD-WAN as a feature to take advantage of these new revenue opportunities. This eagerness to adopt may stem in part from an existing demand for more efficient WAN solutions that has been growing for decades.

SD-WAN is a hot commodity, but MPLS isn’t dead yet

Some MPLS users are seeing significant savings by switching to SD-WAN solutions. However, many others are also finding success with hybrid solutions.

There’s a prevailing thought in the industry that enterprise customers may be expecting to replace their existing MPLS system with SD-WAN solutions. However, these consumers may find better results by mixing and matching the transport and access methods that best suit their circumstances.

CBTS offers cloud-delivered SD-WAN

SD-WAN users are able to increase their bandwidth, without absorbing the costs or dealing with the potential latency issues of a private network.

However, leaping into SD-WAN blindly with limited knowledge of who is providing it is a recipe for disaster. Curious organizations looking to transition to cloud environments using SD-WAN should carefully consider their options when choosing a vendor.

CBTS offers cloud-delivered SD-WAN and global network solutions. These solutions are backed by the experience of managing more than 6,100 customer WAN sites across six global regions.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can empower your enterprise with a custom VMware SD-WAN solution powered by VeloCloud.

Protect your SD-WAN network with cloud-enabled security

Business networks are getting smarter and more efficient every day. New transport methods, organizational strategies, and continually improving cloud computing capabilities are allowing modern enterprises to automate and optimize their processes like never before.

However, these modern network infrastructures, as powerful as they are, must still be protected from a wide range of external threats, from phishers and scammers to bots and viruses. Just as your organization’s networking environment is evolving, potential intruders are likewise developing new tools to take advantage of any opening in your network. Contemporary threats require a contemporary security solution.

Completing the package

Many organizations have embraced Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) to manage and improve connectivity from a single dashboard, while the adoption of Networking as a Service (NaaS) is also on the rise. These solutions are paving the way for future-focused enterprises to simplify their connections, shed unnecessary network upkeep functions, and concentrate on their bottom line.

Embracing SD-WAN and NaaS is only one piece of the puzzle—a robust, cloud-enabled security approach is needed to create a comprehensive and fully functional modern networking infrastructure. To be truly complementary to your SD-WAN and NaaS solutions, this security solution should meet a series of criteria:

  • Offer next-generation threat prevention as a cloud service.
  • Enable public cloud security and compliance measures.
  • Increase protection and threat assessment across all applicable virtual networks.

These features are broadly considered to be a bare minimum for any modern, cloud-capable security solution. Additionally, your organization may prioritize other functions you need from a managed threat assessment package that go beyond basic bot and virus protection.

What to look for in next-gen security

Threat emulation functionality is a cutting-edge feature that prevents infections from new malware and targeted attacks, delivering the best possible catch rate for threats to your network. With the right threat emulation program in place, attackers will have a much more difficult time navigating your defenses.

URL filtering is another valuable tool that maintains categorized lists of problematic URLs and automatically flags any attempts by end-users to access them. This can be used to prevent users from accessing inappropriate, unsafe, or irrelevant websites that you don’t want users to access.

Continuous intrusion protection, when properly automated, can form a nearly impenetrable barrier around your network environment that constantly monitors your network to identify, track, and shut down potential threats. As it stops external attacks, your intrusion protection program can also learn and compile actionable data and analytics about threats to your network.

Application controlis a crucial component of any full-spectrum security program that restricts unauthorized applications from executing in ways that put proprietary data at risk.

Why Check Point CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS?

If harnessing the power of cloud computing to secure your SD-WAN environment and managed network is your goal, CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS bring everything you need to the table.

“Given today’s advanced cyber threats, it is critical to protect enterprise branch offices connected to the cloud with SD-WAN. Check Point CloudGuard Connect is integrated with leading SD-WAN vendors in the cloud to secure branches in minutes,” says Erez Yarkoni, head of the Telco Division at Check Point Software Technologies. “We’re excited to partner with CBTS to help drive enterprise digital transformation, with a special emphasis on branch office SD-WAN security.”

“CBTS has leveraged SD-WAN technologies to help our customers along their journey to the cloud and their path to digital transformation,” Adds Jon Lloyd, director of cloud networking for CBTS. “Organizations are now facing the challenge of how to secure this new, flexible, always-on network where an application can live anywhere in the world, and employees can work from anywhere in the world. Check Point’s CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS enable our customers to make the network decisions and application decisions that are best for their organization without the added difficulty of securing a malleable, distributed network. We are delivering peace of mind now, along with our flexibility and convenience.”

Contact the experts at CBTS for more information on how Check Point CloudGuard Connect can protect and enhance your cloud-enabled network environment.


Learn about Check Point CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS from CBTS.

Read about CBTS launching Check Point CloudGuard Connect.

Efficiency, security, and savings are in reach with managed database services

Cloud deployments are increasing steadily as new cloud products become more available and standardized. By 2021, revenues from cloud-based database management system (DBMS) solutions are expected to account for 50% of the total DBMS market revenue. By 2023, 75% of all databases are expected to be hosted on the cloud.

The availability and data protection offered by DBMS solutions can improve compliance and regulatory standards while also allowing enterprises to reduce the risk associated with managing critical systems and databases in-house. This can all be done by migrating to a dedicated or cloud-enabled DBMS platform aligned with the company’s existing technology and business goals.

CBTS offers a wide range of cloud-based managed database services, including in-depth review and assessment of a client’s existing database environment, migration and configuration assistance, and 24×7 monitoring and management.

Fully-managed database expertise

By partnering with CBTS, clients will gain access to 24×7 ongoing support from certified database administrators (DBAs) to ensure databases remain secure and accessible. CBTS will also configure each client environment to implement monitoring and management tools that will integrate with existing service management environments and that are built to meet guaranteed service level agreements.

Capabilities provided by a custom DBMS

A managed and purpose-built database platform can expand an enterprise’s functionality in several crucial sectors.

  • Review and assessment: CBTS offers in-depth surveys of your database environment and assistance with establishing both technical and business objectives, as well as recommendations and expert guidance.
  • Migrations and configurations: DBMS services come with project management to enable smooth migration away from legacy platforms, as well as design and deployment of the new database environment.
  • Monitoring and management: Clients will benefit from 24×7, hands-on operational support for their entire database environment, as well as backup, security, patch management, and data recovery services.

Additionally, clients will have access to highly skilled and experienced DBAs who can help guide the planning and execution of critical database development in a CBTS data center, public cloud, or remote third-party facility.

Efficiency, security, and savings with managed databases

Making a decision on your DBMS

Organizations considering cloud-based solutions should clearly define the events or circumstances motivating the decision to migrate. These factors include the expiration of a legacy database license, the obsolescence of previous database architecture, or simply a desire to automate database patch management.

The potential outcomes of transitioning to a managed cloud database solution should also be examined closely. This could involve carefully considering which parts of the business would benefit most from automation and increased data analysis speed, assessing how the new database would function within the business, or determining how much control and customization of the database that the company will need to maintain.

Lastly, enterprises will need to decide between an all-inclusive database hosted in the public cloud, which would automate infrastructure scalability but may have customization trade-offs, or a dedicated private instance that offers a suite of dedicated products and greater control of the custom database environment, but may incur higher licensing and management costs with little automation.

Why Managed Database by CBTS?

The skilled experts at CBTS offer the expertise and flexibility to build and deploy world-class database environments. We’re able to provide managed database solutions in a wide variety of models to best suit your objectives while offloading the day-to-day management workload and future-proofing your ability to respond to urgent data incidents.

A customized DBMS gives your organization no more or less than it needs while allowing your staff to mitigate risk. Our ongoing database management also supports a broad range of platforms—our experts will recommend what’s best for your use case.

The landscape of cloud-native database features and functions is changing rapidly. By partnering with CBTS for your managed database needs, you can worry less about navigating the chaos and focus more on your business objectives.

Contact us for more information on managed database solutions by CBTS.

Advantages of moving your IBM iSeries to the cloud

More than 100,000 organizations still depend on the IBM iSeries platform introduced over 30 years ago. iSeries has been a staple in industries like banking and manufacturing, for example, and continues to run business-critical applications like advanced ERP systems. As a mainstay for so many organizations, business leaders are reluctant to consider transitioning to other solutions because they fear significant capital expense and the time and cost of retraining their IT personnel.

Despite the longevity of the IBM iSeries, the continued use of legacy on-premises platforms poses challenges, including:

  • Difficulty of finding talent when an iSeries-focused staff member leaves of retires.
  • Cost of maintaining current iSeries systems does not align with company objectives.
  • Replacement iSeries models are more robust than your organization needs.
  • Change to an always-on, 24x7x365 business model requires continuous operation without downtime for backups or upgrades.
  • Inadequate data protection, security, and disaster recovery plans fail to meet regulatory and compliance requirements.

By partnering with an iSeries hosting and managed services provider, your organization can move your iSeries systems to the cloud where they can be proactively monitored, managed, and backed up. The service provider will also help you develop a comprehensive disaster recovery and high availability/continuous operation program.

CBTS has extensive iSeries cloud migration experience and certified experts who have helped many companies make the transition and reduce IT expenditures by matching processing power with their precise needs.

Also, CBTS eliminates planned downtime associated with backups and upgrades by implementing a continuous operation strategy, including a tested disaster recovery operations plan to avoid unforeseen crises and ensure application availability.

Eliminate the need to find and retain iSeries talent

The IBM iSeries has supported successful organizations for more than 30 years. The success of the platform is monumental, considering the rapid pace of change within the technology industry. While your organization can replace hardware and software, many IT specialists trained to service the iSeries are approaching retirement age or have already retired. And because most colleges and universities no longer offer iSeries training, it has become increasingly difficult to find people who know how to manage the platform. 

Eliminate downtime

iSeries-based businesses often relied on tape backups for recovery after an outage, data loss, or another disaster. But the reality is recovery from a tape backup today is unlikely, and even if successful, it would involve significant downtime that might imperil your business.

Also, most disaster recovery plans are untested, and there is a strong chance they will fail in an emergency. Even if the disaster plan does work, your business might be crippled by the downtime.

A properly functioning backup plan should be drawn up far ahead of time and should be tested. The plan can then be adjusted to reflect the knowledge gained from the backup recovery test. In a continuous use environment, you must have a robust backup and recovery plan. To do that, you need a technology partner with substantial expertise to handle this complex, nuanced process.

Meet contemporary data protection and recovery standards

Many organizations must meet high data protection and recovery standards. They make significant investments in IT to protect sensitive information and must prove to regulators that they have taken the steps necessary to avoid damage or loss of personal data. By working with an iSeries managed services provider, your organization no longer bears the full responsibility for compliance, and your IT staff can talk to people who have completed hundreds of individual audits and hold a wide range of certifications.

CBTS high-availability data recovery programs feature in-depth testing with a Letter of Test Performance to meet audit and regulatory needs, runbooks, and business continuity planning. Burstable disaster recovery technologies are also available for any reason and length of time. Offload iSeries management, support, and updates confidently by migrating these platforms to an experienced third-party cloud provider with certified professionals with years of iSeries managed services expertise.  

CBTS managed services include:

  • 24x7x365 monitoring, response, and management of systems at a fraction of the cost.
  • Recruiting, hiring, training, and assigning experts in a diverse assortment of technologies.
  • Designing, configuring, and implementing cloud and hybrid environments.
  • 24x7x365 IT security services that identify unusual activity and work with cyber experts to minimize the chances of a breach.

Support of business resilience and operations through the use of high-availability and continuous use strategies, and backup and recovery testing to eliminate downtime for routine maintenance or in the event of a crisis.

Move to a CBTS Managed IT Services model

The IBM iSeries has delivered decades of service, security, and reliability, but its time is drawing to an end. Companies now face the increased pressure of a 24x7x365 business model, difficulties with finding qualified IT talent, and uncertainties about what would happen to their operations during a disaster. Organizations can overcome these challenges by working with a managed services provider to create a customized cloud-based solution that eliminates risk and lowers the cost continuing to run on the iSeries platform.

CBTS has more than 30 years of experience in designing, building, and managing data centers and cloud environments in nearly every industry. Our highly trained and certified iSeries experts can help you make a seamless transition to a managed cloud solution. CBTS will help you optimize application workload needs and maintain infrastructure operations within a remote-managed model. And the effectiveness of your IT team will dramatically increase when they can partner with technology peers to deliver on high-value, move-the-needle competitive advantage solutions.

To learn more about migrating IBM iSeries to the cloud, download our free e-book.

VoIP vs UCaaS: What is right for your business?

It seems when it comes to technology, enterprise organizations and SMBs alike find themselves in the same situation as consumers: the moment you purchase a device or solution, newer technology comes along with advantages that nearly render the previous technology obsolete.

Take traditional landlines, for instance, also known as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). Over the past decade, businesses of all sorts have made the transition from POTS to a newer, better alternative: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The decision to move to VoIP is an easy one since businesses realize significant cost savings and gain access to advanced calling features, such as a virtual assistant and call routing to different departments. With that process nearly complete, and with the Internet established as its base, businesses can begin to look at their communications more holistically. Companies looking for the next level of collaboration are turning to a technology that can handle a customized suite of applications and communications services delivered on a single platform: Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS.

But should you transition?

Think VoIP and UCaaS technologies are mutually exclusive?

The fact is, they are not, but to make the right decision, it helps to have a clear understanding of what each technology is, what role they play in a modern communications ecosystem, and the differences in managing and monitoring each.

VoIP

VoIP is pretty much exactly as it sounds: spoken words on a call transmitted as data over the Internet. This technology requires some changes in the way data is handled in transit. The blocky, bursty nature of text delivery, for one, is replaced with a smoother, more continuous data stream that reduces interruptions. VoIP also incorporates a more dynamic, two-way data connection to accommodate the conversational style of the speech better.

VoIP benefits

  • Centralized IP PBX architecture which reduces costs.
  • 99.9% guaranteed uptime.
  • Enhanced QoS & Core SLAs. 
  • E911, caller ID, and directory listings.
  • Automatic disaster recovery failover.
  • Unlimited expanded local calling—no per-minute charges. 
  • Web portal access and web-based administrative control available with bolt-ons.
  • U.S. and Canada voice network availability.
  • Reporting tools to manage network performance efficiently. 

One of the more compelling use-cases for VoIP is the cost-savings derived from switching voice communications from standard line service to more efficient digital communications. In most cases, this is done in conjunction with an existing Internet service provider and implemented with upgrades to an IP-PBX phone system. Most VoIP services provide call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, voicemail, and other functions. One of the most crucial aspects of VoIP, however, is that it places traditional desktop telephone service on the same digital foundation as data infrastructure, effectively reducing the recurring cost of separate voice and data circuits. These innovative voice services drive better collaboration and mobility for your business.

UCaaS

Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS, is a catchall term for bundling a wide range of communications services, including VoIP, under a common framework. In this way, organizations more closely integrate voice communications with file sharing, instant messaging, collaboration, phones, and other applications to streamline workflows and make better use of available information.

UCaaS benefits

  • Offers greater flexibility when integrating applications, such as messaging, video meetings, whiteboarding, IVR, call recording, reporting, and screen sharing.
  • Integrates with third-party solutions.
  • Tailors app consumption toward actual usage rather than as fixed overhead costs.
  • Provides exceptional ability to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices.
  • Allows for personalized customization of user settings to enable workers to engage and interact with others on their teams.

Because of its broader scope, UCaaS is slightly more complex in its setup and management than VoIP. Both are very different in their implementation model, so having an experienced vendor is critical.

While UCaaS is a broader solution, depending on the business model, legacy architecture, internal processes, and many other factors, some organizations may determine that standalone VoIP meets all their needs. Others may conclude that partial or full UCaaS is the way to go, particularly those involved in highly-collaborative, security-focused organizations, such as banking and finance, healthcare and education, professional services, retail, and others.

Adopting UCaaS as a complete cloud solution

For the most part, organizations are adopting UCaaS as a complete cloud solution. Still, there are some cases where on-premises infrastructure is required, usually under the auspices of a private cloud. The reasons for this vary, but in general, it comes from a desire to maintain tighter control over the environment, albeit at the expense of higher maintenance and monitoring costs.

The good thing for enterprise organizations is that VoIP and UCaaS are not mutually exclusive. For businesses starting with a traditional voice infrastructure, a logical upgrade path is to implement VoIP first. As the need arises, launch into UCaaS functionality later depending on the age of your equipment and what other features and functionality you plan to need in the future. Once all forms of communication have been elevated to the cloud, selecting the right systems becomes a matter of what your business needs at any point in time, not what your internal infrastructure can support.

Know your options

Several different types of Hosted Unified Communications solutions are available:

  • Service Providers: Traditional telecom services that offer fully-featured Hosted UC as an integrated part of their offering to business customers.
  • IT-centric cloud app providers: Software vendors with a background in productivity applications and have incorporated communications functionality into their IT suites.
  • Over-the-top (OTT) service providers: Providers that offer communications solutions that operate over the Internet. 
  • Traditional network Centrex providers: First generation of hosted telephony service providers, delivering PBX-type functionality as a hosted service.

Making the best choice for your business

The industry has drastically changed, and the options of providers are endless. While all Hosted Communications solutions generally perform the same essential functions, they do vary significantly in their cost, functionality, flexibility, scalability, and support. No matter if you are looking for private or public deployment, it’s critical to land on a solution that ensures the quality of experience for your voice traffic and meets the future business needs. The success of the new technology is entirely dependent on choosing a partner who offers design, implementation, training, and support.

At CBTS, we are capable of accommodating any request. The roots of our organization are deep with a rich history of delivering on-premises, hybrid, and cloud private or public unified communications solutions.

Critical Steps to Starting your Communication Journey

From cloud discovery, assessment, strategy, and design, to migration, implementation, and monitoring your environments, discover how CBTS has you covered.

Speak to a Communications Expert today


Accelerate time to value with a Red Hat containerized approach

Winning the race against your competition is no longer about being the best at running a physical data center, it’s about outpacing the leading, most agile organizations in your industry. It means releasing new products, functionality, and software updates quickly, acquiring unique insights from data, and being able to change direction as markets demand.

If your company is still running a traditional ops environment, with developers and operations functioning in silos, your time to market will be anything but speedy. Bottlenecks, delays, and quality issues are common hurdles set in place by the conflicting goals between the development and operations teams.

To overcome the issues inherent in a traditional siloed approach, companies have begun merging developers and operations into a single team headed toward common goals. Through this alignment, companies can scale their applications rapidly to millions of users, provide global availability, manage enormous amounts of data, and respond in near milliseconds. 

Additionally, the maintenance and management of these modern applications running across complex hybrid cloud environments can be fully automated and scale on demand. This approach puts organizations on the fast track to getting the most from innovative technologies like containers and micro-services, and other game-changing DevOps practices.  DevOps is proven to greatly accelerate the process from idea to development to deployment. But to do this, DevOps must rely on automating routine operational tasks and standardizing environments across an app’s lifecycle.

Containers establish standardized environments

Containers deliver stable, standardized environments to ensure software runs reliably when moved from one computing environment to another. Containers package an application, plus all of its dependencies (libraries, configuration files), into one portable image. 

Net-new applications, or apps that have been refactored to be cloud-native, are designed for resiliency and scale. They can be deployed easily on the public cloud, allowing developers to deliver releases or update functionality in nearly half the time.

Application refactoring is ideal for companies in need of technology upgrades, businesses that have “lifted and shifted” legacy apps to the cloud with little results, or IT leaders who continually buy new servers and storage to handle growth of line-of-business applications.

Red Hat® OpenShift® Container Environment

Containerized environments, also referred to as Kubernetes, were first developed by a team at Google, and later donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Kubernetes is a true open-source platform, with engineers from Google, Red Hat, and many other companies actively contributing to the system and the community.

Kubernetes eliminates many of the manual processes involved in deploying and scaling containerized applications. It clusters groups of hosts running Linux containers and helps you easily and efficiently manage those clusters.

CBTS is your trusted partner to help you get to the next generation of cloud-native application and infrastructure delivery so that you can vastly improve your time to market, eliminate downtime, and leverage automation for ease of ongoing management.
 

CBTS is a Premier Plus Partner, the highest level of technology partnership with Red Hat, and collectively we hold over 97 individual certifications ranging from advanced cloud, infrastructure, platform, automation, virtualization and storage to name a few. Over our eight-year relationship we have built an extensive level of experience helping clients choose the right Red Hat platform to meet their complex business objectives and create disruptive opportunities.

Red Hat® OpenShift® is a hybrid cloud, enterprise, Kubernetes application platform and offers plenty of benefits:

  • Supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux for worker nodes and supports standard Docker and CRI-O runtimes.
  • Incorporates hundreds of fixes to defect, security, and performance issues for upstream Kubernetes in every release.
  • Includes software-defined networking and validates additional common networking solutions.
  • Validates numerous storage and third-party plug-ins for every release.
  • Includes an integrated, private container registry; teams with more significant requirements can also use Red Hat Quay.
  • Offers streamlined workflows to help teams get to production faster, with built-in Jenkins pipelines and source-to-image technology to go straight from application code to container.
  • Helps administrators and support application teams, with service brokers (including direct access to AWS services), validated third-party solutions, and Kubernetes operators.

CBTS can help with your application modernization and Red Hat containerization

CBTS understands the importance of balancing continuous application development with innovation for improvement and a rapid development approach. Our team of Red Hat experts has a proven track record in implementing next-generation, cloud-native application and infrastructure delivery so you can concentrate on improving your time to market, eliminating downtime, and leveraging automation to ease your management burdens.

How it works

CBTS employs a rigorous, rapid development approach that:

  • Aligns your business objectives with a technology application plan and schedule.
  • Nurtures constant feedback loops on performance, functionality, and user behavior.
  • Establishes a transparent roadmap detailing how applications migrate, when services go live, and which features become available.
  • Delivers reliable code at a rapid pace, resulting from our well-defined agile-development process.
  • Supports monitoring and managing apps in the cloud on any platform, derived from many years of application support experience.

Learn more

Download our Red Hat Buyer’s Guide to learn how CBTS can help your organization embrace a digital transformation.

Discover more about Cloud Consulting services from CBTS.

The value of the cloud in our new reality

Now, more than ever, enterprises are recognizing the value of cloud networking and the benefit of connecting people safely as we work through the COVID-19 crisis.

In the past, networking was a relatively straightforward matter of linking users in one (usually fixed) location to data and applications located in another. Today, however, the task is to build and maintain dynamic, reliable connections between users in all our various locations and data/apps that can be housed in multiple sites across town, across the country, or around the world.

To effectively do this, enterprises must look to the cloud. This means converting legacy data structure into a distributed cloud that provides significant improvements in scale, flexibility, and cost. However, this transition is not without its challenges.

The cloud represents more than a simple technology upgrade, but whole shifts in the way organizations connect people to data and applications. And nowhere is this change more profound than in networking. 

For a networking professional, of course, this is easier said than done. Not only does this potentially encompass multiple cloud providers, each with their own networking anomalies, but it can also incorporate all manner of pathways. And, none of these are under the direct control of the person responsible for maintaining high availability and data accessibility.

Our new reality

Given our emerging state, network teams must create the kinds of architectures needed to maintain the level of connectivity that the working-world needs more than ever right now. Calls for improvements will swiftly come from users directly, all of whom need reliable connectivity to work and are accustomed to getting this level of service from their consumer applications.

Networking is no longer the gatekeeper to what is possible. Networking can no longer say, “This is the bandwidth that is available, so everything has to fit within that envelope.” Instead, the user will demand, “This is the bandwidth I require, so make it happen.”

A friend in need

This adjustment can be difficult for networking teams that have become entrenched in the established order. Change is difficult. However, organizations can turn to experienced consultants like CBTS to help guide them through this challenging transition. Rather than simply continuing the old paradigm of installing leading vendor X’s platform as a matter of course, a top-notch consultant can bring best-of-breed solutions to address specific goals. Today’s OEM market is becoming overly crowded with niche vendors and open solutions, which makes it difficult for internal networking teams to gauge the proper solution. At CBTS, we maintain partnerships with key vendors while also designing an array of customized solutions, so we are not just pushing one specific product or technology.

The importance of a trusted technology consultant like CBTS

At the same time, we remain up-to-date on all of the key technology developments, design criteria, standards, and other elements so that our solutions not only serve the needs of today but can seamlessly transition to the requirements of tomorrow. Combined with our ability to establish long-standing relationships with clients and drill down to their specific needs, we provide the kind of customized solutions that will differentiate applications and services as the digital economy transitions into the world of 5G and the Internet of Things.

This level of customization is not possible under the fixed network architectures of today. SD-WAN is proving to be of immense benefit to our customers because it unshackles the enterprise from the traditional telco conglomerates and allows transport to be consumed as a commodity. SD-WAN provides unprecedented flexibility when tailoring networks to specific sites and workloads and puts the enterprise in charge of charting its own network footprint rather than tailoring their needs to the provider’s constraints.

For every network engineer going forward, the primary goal will no longer be to build the best network or deliver the fastest throughput but to enable the best customer experience. As the world becomes more digitized, organizations that maintain high satisfaction ratings and high customer loyalty will find themselves at a distinct competitive advantage against those who are still struggling to support legacy, vendor-centric architectures.

With an experienced partner like CBTS on your side, you can navigate this transition.

The future of networking is wide open. Learn more about CBTS Networking Solutions.