ITPro Tools in Skype for Business To Ensure a Stellar Experience
A description and assessment of the Microsoft and 3rd-party tools to support enterprise deployments of Skype for Business
Skype for Business offers a comprehensive unified communications and collaboration platform with the ability to revolutionize an enterprise’s business processes, enable a high level of business agility and generate a significant return on investment. That promise hinges on Skype for Business’s ability to consistently deliver high availability and a high quality user experience (UX). Without that consistent high quality UX, adoption will falter, the potential benefits will not be reaped and ROI will evaporate.
Given the nature of the Skype for Business environment, delivering that consistent high quality UX, particularly for real time voice and video services, will present challenges. The end-to-end path will involve any number of servers, front ends, gateways, mediation servers, routers, switches, Wi-Fi access points, firewalls, end points and network services all of which could be acquired from different vendors and must be configured to interoperate seamlessly. Further, by their very nature, router networks introduce a level of unpredictability with regard to varying traffic levels and the ability to reroute data streams to reduce congestion or to recover from equipment or transmission link failures.
To address those challenges and allow IT Administrators to deliver the required high quality UX in Skype for Business deployments, Microsoft has introduced a set of network planning, operations, reporting, and network assessment capabilities called ITPro Tools. These tools are a combination of capabilities that Microsoft provides as part of the Skype for Business software and auxiliary tools sold by 3rd party vendors, in particular Event Zero, Nectar and Unify Square. Together they provide a toolkit that IT Administrators and network engineers can use to plan, provision, monitor, troubleshoot and report on the overall performance of a Skype for Business network.
The purpose of this report, written by Michael Finneran, is to help IT Administrators understand the challenges involved in delivering that high quality UX, recognize the importance of these tools in achieving those objectives, get a clearer picture of where the various tools fit in the overall support complex and highlight some of the key differences in the capabilities they provide.