PureCloud Makes Hybrid Cloud UC as Real as it Gets

Jun 05, 2014

The funny thing about cloud solutions, even ten years after the earliest software as a service (SaaS) products first hit the market, is that conversations STILL require a level set. “What do you think cloud means?” is a common opening question in any discussion. Pause on that a moment: Ten years later and we still have to make sure everyone in the conversation is of the same mindset when talking about public, private, and now hybrid clouds.

So, to level-set, allow me to share my own definition of a hybrid unified communications (UC) cloud deployment: Enterprise communications applications, collectively known as the UC stack, each deployed in the most logical location (i.e., private cloud or public cloud). For some businesses, a full public cloud deployment, with nothing but endpoints installed on-premises, might be the best option. For others, a mix of on-premises and cloud-based applications, integrated as a unified platform with centralized management, might be required to meet specific business and regulatory needs.

To that end, Interactive Intelligence’s new PureCloud offering could very well be the epitome of hybrid UC cloud solutions today. Under PureCloud, platform responsibility is divided among Amazon Web Services (AWS) for scalability, Interactive Intelligence’s data centers for reliability and some on-premises hardware and software.

The key to making PureCloud support real-time communications is the Interactive Edge device. Essentially a beefed up multi-service branch gateway, the Interactive Edge will handle PureCloud’s media processing, endpoint registration, and call control for PureCloud’s unified communications and contact center AWS-driven applications. The “logical location” for the Interactive Edge is largely determined by the customer needs. When deployed on-premises, the Edge delivers survivability, keeping calls alive even if the AWS platform can’t be reached. More importantly, the Edge can interface with existing telecommunications services, with support for SIP trunking at launch and planned support for TDM interfaces such as PRIs. Unlike traditional hosted UC services, PureCloud customers do not have to relinquish control of their telephone numbers to the hosted provider. 

On the other hand, for businesses that are ready to fully commit to a cloud-based UC and contact center existence, Interactive Intelligence is preparing to host Edge devices within its own data center, minimizing the hardware footprint at the business’ locations and managing the telecommunication services for the customer. Interactive will also support any mix of these two options, enabling on-premises deployment for larger sites and hosted Edge devices for remote sites, for example.

Under PureCloud, businesses that might still be on the fence on whether or not to embrace the cloud can take a tentative first step while still maintaining control over their phone numbers and circuits. Cloud purists, as well as Interactive Intelligence’s competitors, might suggest that the mere existence of on-premises gear makes PureCloud something less than pure for a cloud offering, but in my view, this is exactly what a hybrid cloud solution should look like.

(Also, be sure to also check out Elka Popova’s great summary of Interactive Intelligence’s PureCloud announcement and its implications for the hosted unified communications and contact center markets.)

Category : Cloud, Enterprise

Michael Brandenburg


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