The SDN model of higher-level controllers driving lower-level infrastructure elements fits nicely with the Unified Communications (UC) model, where a call controller understands the bandwidth and QoS needs of real-time traffic. The combination of SDN and UC offers the ability to translate real-time traffic requirements into configurations that optimise the network's treatment of voice, video, and any other traffic that may need real-time handling.
NEC's UC-SDN integration can drive efficiencies in provisioning, emergency communications, and disaster recovery/resiliency, while also providing better traffic analysis that can eventually play into Big Data-driven insights:
When it comes to provisioning, the UC-SDN integration allows for more efficient configuration of the underlying infrastructure. Instead of configuring and mapping QoS settings manually across devices, network managers can use the information generated by the API to provide information not just on QoS settings but on dynamically changing requirements. That means more efficient use of resources, since bandwidth doesn't have to be dedicated full-time for high-demand situations that may only occur sporadically; it can be re-allocated as needed.
Life-critical emergency communications
The ability to dynamically map endpoint location can be applied to life-critical emergency communications scenarios. The UC system can immediately locate where an emergency call came from, based on the SDN system's ability to tell it which network switch port the dialing phone connects to. Also, emergency calls or broadcasts can be set with the highest priority to assure they get priority over all other traffic.
Disaster Recovery (DR)/failover situations
The greater control over dynamic resource allocation can help in Disaster Recovery (DR)/failover situations. With SDN integration, if a UC server associated with a mirrored datacenter goes off line, the redundant UC server would know that and could dynamically push bandwidth reallocation policies to the network infrastructure to handle the downtime, rather than this reallocation having to be done manually. Once the UC server was brought back up, the policies would revert to the normal configuration.
Collect highly granular data
Tying the UC system directly to the SDN infrastructure lets the enterprise collect highly granular data on individual users' consumption of network resources, tied to the UC applications that they use. Mining this via Big Data analysis can give a better understanding of network utilisation all the way down to the user level.