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IBM & 3Com's new single server solution for IP telephony

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

According to Computer Weekly:
"You can'’t help but recognise the benefit of running your entire business and your IP telephony simultaneously on a single system," said Mark Shearer, general manager of IBM System i.
And I couldn't disagree more. While correct that a small business could save on the initial cost of server hardware, Mark fails to mention the downsides of hosting multiple server applications on a single server.

Server administrators have a general rule, which is this: Each function you add to your server increases the probability of something going wrong.

Lets say that "your entire business" includes, for example, an e-mail server. If it all of a sudden get hit with a flood of spam, or a virus manages to infect the system, or it otherwise malfunctions, it could slow the server down to a crawl, or crash it altogether. Guess what happens then? Since the IP telephony system is on the same server, your office now no longer has access to their telephones until the problem can be fixed!

How many important incoming calls would you miss in such a scenario? How much money is that worth to the company? Is it more than the cost you "saved" by not buying another server?

The server admin rule can be reworded as such: Keep separate functions on separate servers. Tell IBM and 3Com thanks, but no thanks.

Note: If you truly can't afford to purchase a server, then at least use VMware to create separate virtual machines on your existing server, one VM per function.


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