The IP-PBX Energy Wars...

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Tom Keating
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The IP-PBX Energy Wars...

So today I get a new report from the Tolly Group stating that the ShoreTel Unified Communications system is significantly more energy efficient than the Cisco Unified Communications Manager. ShoreTel apparently topped Cisco in using less energy to drive VoIP communications in specific large, medium and small enterprise-class scenarios.

This energy usage comparison reminded me of Nortel's "The 'Nortel' Tax Relief Plan", which aims to "stop paying the 'Cisco Energy Tax' and save up to 40%". Tony Rybczynski who works for Nortel and writes a TMCNet blog called The HyperConnected Enterprise sparked some controversy with some of his blog posts promoting the fact that Nortel is more efficient than Cisco. He even cites one customer that put a stop order on a $2 million dollar Cisco order once they did the energy efficiency calculations.

Is that what it's come down to? Instead of feature-to-feature comparisons where going to have to start comparing energy consumption? I'm not against the idea, I just find it kind of humorous that everyone is jumping on the enviro-green bandwagon.

I have to wonder if an IT manager, CTO, etc. might purchase a more efficient IP-PBX over a less efficient one that has many more features? Well, certainly in San Francisco and other uber-green areas that might be the case. Green trumps everything when you're a greenie - not that there's anything wrong with that.

I should point out that the IT Manager or CTO often not held accountable to what the electricity costs are. Many businesses see their electricity bills just as one of the costs of running their businesses. Other than instructing their users to turn off their radios, monitors, and computers at night, most businesses don't delve into purchasing energy efficient computer or phone equipment. That is changing due to high energy costs - albeit slowly.

What's missing from this ShoreTel energy comparison report is a comparison with Nortel, Avaya, and other IP-PBX players. Just who is the "king" of energy efficiency? Inquiring minds want to know.

So what are your thoughts on the IP-PBX Energy Wars? Do you care about efficiency or are features for important to you? Post a comment.

Lastly, the press release is included after the jump for your perusal...

ShoreTel's Unified Communications System More Energy Efficient
Than Cisco Unified Communications Manager

Tolly Group reports ShoreTel UC solution consumes up to 45 percent less
energy across three typical enterprise-class deployments

SUNNYVALE, CA, Aug. 4, 2008 - In a power consumption study of IP telephony components conducted by independent testing firm, The Tolly Group, the ShoreTel® (NASDAQ; SHOR) Unified Communications system held a clear advantage over the Cisco Unified Communications Manager, requiring up to 45 percent less energy. Testing and analysis was conducted across three classes of enterprise deployments.

Based on energy consumption projections, ShoreTel, the leading provider of Pure IP Unified Communications (UC) solutions, bested Cisco in using less energy to drive VoIP communications in specific large, medium and small enterprise-class scenarios, according to the July 2008 study commissioned by ShoreTel.

• In a large-scale network with 1,500 users at a headquarters site, regional office and branch office, ShoreTel's UC system was calculated to use 37 percent less power.
• In a medium network with 350 users in a central headquarters and 19 branch office sites, ShoreTel's UC system was projected to consume 45 percent less power.
• In a self-contained single site office with 65 users, ShoreTel's UC system was calculated to use 44 percent less power.

"With escalating energy costs, the energy efficiency of UC solutions is heavily weighted in buying decisions," said Kevin Tolly, founder, president and CEO of The Tolly Group. "The reduced power usage of ShoreTel's UC system translates into lower cooling expenses, which results in lower cost of ownership. For today's energy-conscious buyer, the green footprint is increasingly important."

In addition to testing power consumption of VoIP communications in enterprise scenarios, The Tolly Group conducted a comparison test of monochromatic GbE-based IP phones. The ShoreTel phone required almost 60 percent less power than its Cisco counterpart in idle state, and 33 percent less power in active mode during a voice call - a clear demonstration of ShoreTel's engineering ingenuity in designing energy-efficient phones.

"The Tolly Group study validates what we frequently hear from our ShoreTel customers and distribution partners regarding energy savings in both large and small deployments," said Kevin Gavin, vice president of product marketing, ShoreTel. "In addition to helping lower total cost of ownership, reduced energy consumption also helps us deliver on our commitment to being environmentally friendly."

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