Features and Functionality In most cases, functionality was

have recently switched to the Microsoft UC platform due to Microsoft and Microsoft partner solutions to assist enterprises in providing a compliant messaging platform. The Microsoft UC platform, along with Microsoft partners, provides the highest level of platform compliance, with functionality that includes segregating Instant Messaging user communities and enabling the recording of conversations. For example, most financial trading communities are, by legal definition, not allowed to communicate in any electronic form to other departments within even their own corporations. This solution has been a critical component in deploying the Microsoft UC solution for these customers, and it has proven to be a win with information technology executives of these firms and agencies. IBM Sametime, in partnership with third-party providers, also provides compliance features, but the overwhelmingly large number of additional Microsoft compliance components continues to attract enterprise customers. Scalability and Availability Scalability and availability are critical considerations when deploying any technology service. Providing high-bandwidth applications that have a guaranteed run rate of 99.9% has always been the goal of any technology application. As Instant Messaging becomes more of a critical business application, the reliability of the messaging server and network environment becomes equally as important. Scalability and high availability are features that the Microsoft UC platform has invested in, whereas IBM has not. With the UC platform, the messaging environment can be load-balanced to provide a pool of messaging servers in case one or more servers unexpectedly fails; the remaining servers in the pool continue to run and provide service to users. Load-balancing is a solution that provides more than an additional server or service; it is completely identical to its counterpart. The purpose of load-balancing is to provide more than one identical copy of a service in the event that the primary service is lost. Additional loadbalanced servers would then pick up the load of the primary service in real time, providing no loss of service to a consumer. Load-balancing is not a feature of the IBM Sametime solution. Another feature of the Microsoft UC platform is back-end database clustering. The Microsoft UC user and system configuration is stored in Microsoft SQL Server, so it is important to back up the databases that support the UC system. Clustering is now available, so when a back-end server fails, another backend server is available to keep the system running. Microsoft has applied this level of high availability to all of its enterprise server applications, which is an infrastructure requirement with businesses today. Figure 2-1 provides an example of Microsoft s Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 Enterprise Edition scalability and availability design. Mentioned earlier was the advantage of server consolidation and the capacity of Microsoft UC servers versus that of IBM s. Existing IBM customers who have been used to multiple servers supporting their environments have been awed by the capacity of a given Microsoft LCS server to support users. In some cases, enterprise customers have seen the required server count to support additional users with their existing IBM Sametime solution drop by half when they switched to the Microsoft UC solution. Microsoft provides two editions of its Live Communications Server software, Standard and Enterprise. A Standard Edition server can support up to 15,000 users per server, while an Enterprise Edition pool can support up to 100,000 users per pool, supporting 20,000 users per server. This level of scalability heavily outweighs IBM s Sametime solution, which typically can support up to 12,000 users per server. 46 Chapter 2
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