Guest Post by Jeff Nicoll, KBZ Regional Director South
KBZ introduced the Cisco Business Edition 6000 (BE6000) in a blog last fall, “Cisco Business Edition 6000: Simple, Affordable Collaboration for Midsize Companies.” This article outlined the key features of the solution and the applications available.
One of the great things about the BE6000 is that it is really the first product that easily ties together legacy or traditional video or video conferencing products to a customer’s collaboration platform, bringing voice, video, and messaging together. The BE6000 is a single Cisco server that runs multiple applications. With the BE6000, a customer can deploy a Cisco IP phone system and now all of thier IP phone endpoints can also talk to any traditional video endpoint.
Since the product launched I have received some great comments and questions from our partners about the BE6000. In this post I want to highlight some of the key benefits of the solution you may not know about, and address some of these questions.
Easier Set-up and Deployment
Installing a traditional Unified Communications solution can be complex – you are basically buying and configuring multiple servers, then purchasing and installing virtual software applications, and downloading and installing other programs in a multi-step process. If you want to run “traditional” communications applications such as Voice, Instant Messaging & Presence, Voicemail, Contact Center, etc., you would need multiple servers, multiple databases and multiple virtual machines.
The installation of BE6000 is much easier. A customer buys one server to run up to five applications simultaneously, and since the virtual software and applications are already installed, the set-up time and server configuration is much faster than with the traditional approach. The applications and software packages are preloaded so there is nothing to download or install. The customer just chooses the applications during set-up, applies the licensing, and the solution is ready to go!
Streamlined Licensing Options
Partners have commented that there are many licensing options to choose from with the BE6000 and at times this could be confusing. The new version of Unified Communications Manager, version 9.0, has a simplified licensing model. Instead of eight or nine licensing options, there are now three main options to choose from that will address the needs of most companies.
Easier License Control with Enterprise License Manager
When you deploy a more traditional UC solution, there are different licenses for different components and applications. There can be one license for phones, another for voicemail, one for contact center, plus other features and functionality. In a traditional UC deployment, all these licenses would be kept in separate databases, making it a challenge to manage and control, and also more difficult to know when you have the appropriate licensing to run additional applications and/or add users.
The good news is that BE6000 comes with Enterprise License Manager (ELM). ELM combines all licenses into a single, built-in tool so there is one database that keeps track of the various licenses, accessible through one user interface. Managing UC licenses has never been this easy.
Option for Redundancy
Redundancy is a question that comes up often. As mentioned, the BE6000 server can run five different applications simultaneously. If a company wants to run more than five applications, they will need to deploy a second BE6000 server. One benefit of this second server is that it also provides a high availability redundant platform. If a company is using the BE6000 as their phone system, the second server delivers the redundancy needed to keep the phones up and running should the first server go down. Other options are also available such as SRST (Survivable Remote Site Telephony) which could be deployed alongside the BE6000.
New, Smaller Bundles Available
When deploying the BE6000, a customer will need to purchase a starter licensing bundle. Previously these were available in bundles of 50 or 100 licenses. We are now offering two smaller 25 user starter bundles; 25 Enhanced UCL and 25 CUWL as options. This is ideal for smaller companies who want to take advantage of all the features, functionality and cool tools of a Unified Communications solution that were previously only available at the enterprise level, but found the stretch to a 50 license bundle cost prohibitive. And the solution will grow as the company grows.
Another advantage of these licensing bundles is that they cover virtually every UC endpoint in the Cisco portfolio. Now companies don’t have to worry if they have the right license for a particular phone – they are always covered.
A question I’m often asked is about scalability – what if a company has 10 or 15 locations? The BE6000 supports from 25 to 1000 users, and up to 50 locations. If a company grows beyond these parameters there is a migration path to go to a more traditional system without giving up their investment in the BE6000.
911 Emergency Responder Available
There is a misconception out there that the BE6000 solution does not support 911 emergency services. This is not true. Companies can get the Cisco 911 Emergency Responder application for use with the BE6000 solution.
Jabber for Everyone Included
The BE6000 comes with Jabber for everyone – this means it comes with Jabber Instant Messaging (IM) and presence at no additional cost. Jabber is also available with voice and video calling, but this requires an additional license, and is one of the options available with the new, simplified licensing model.
WebEx Cloud Based Service Available
BE6000 fully integrates with Cisco WebEx, for more efficient and productive meetings. WebEx is available as a cloud based service – if a customer does not want to use one of the BE6000 virtual slots to run IM and Presence, they have the option of using the WebEx cloud solution for that functionality and free up a virtual machine for a different application.
VCS Expressway Available
With many UC solutions the video capabilities exist behind the firewall and are only available to users within the same company. That means employees can’t use video to talk to partners, suppliers or customers outside the organization. By adding the Cisco VCS Expressway as an additional device to the communication platform, the company can now conduct video calls with the rest of the world – anyone with a standards-based video endpoint.
If you have questions about BE6000, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. KBZ is currently stocking the complete BE6000 solution including phones, switches and other voice gateways required with a BE6000 deployment. Cisco Reseller Partners can contact KBZ for a quote.
If you’re interested in selling the solution, call your KBZ representative and we’ll walk you through the steps to get you started.
If your organization would like more information on the BE6000 solution, contact your Cisco Reseller Partner.
Jeff Nicoll has over 10 years of experience in the video conferencing industry and has been with KBZ for the last five years. Prior to joining KBZ, he spent three years with TANDBERG. Jeff currently manages distribution sales for the South region of the U.S., supporting partners focused primarily in the commercial sector, though he has also worked in the public sector and federal markets. He manages a team of inside and outside sales resources, and his role also includes engineering, sales and business development for the partner community. Jeff holds multiple Cisco certifications and recently completed the Cisco Advanced UC Sales Specialist Certification. Connect with Jeff on Twitter: @Jeff_kbzsouth