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ShoreTel offers customers new hybrid cloud application

Business telecom provider ShoreTel has introduced a hybrid cloud application that lets companies mix and match on-premises and cloud services to run across multiple sites.

ShoreTel has introduced a hybrid cloud application that lets companies mix and match on-premises and cloud applications that can run across multiple sites.

Last week, ShoreTel, a provider of business telecom and UC services, launched Connect HYBRID Sites, the latest product under the company's Connect UC brand. Connect HYBRID Sites joins ShoreTel's on-premises system, called Connect ONSITE, and its hosted UC as a service product, Connect CLOUD.

ShoreTel Connect provides hardware- and software-based IP phones, voice switches and media gateways, and high-end applications that enhance the overall capabilities of the system and services. 

Connect ONSITE has the ability to scale up to 20,000 ports -- users and SIP trunks -- support hundreds of remote sites, and it offers redundancy models.

ShoreTel's hybrid cloud application is aimed at companies that want to start using cloud-based UC services, but are not quite ready to abandon all on-premises applications, such as an IP PBX.

"Hybrid is much more of an evolutionary means to get to the cloud," said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill. "It allows a company to go to the cloud as it makes sense for them."

ShoreTel is hoping companies that are ready to upgrade from older communication systems will choose the hybrid cloud application to get them, at least partially, to the cloud. Also, companies opening up new offices may want to consider a hybrid UC system, said Rich Winslow, a senior director of product management at ShoreTel, based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Vendors are scrambling to find ways to entice companies into cloud-based UC services, which haven't been a big seller among large companies. In a study released last week, IT services provider Dimension Data found less than 25% of 1,000 enterprises surveyed were using cloud-based UC.

"Most customers don't jump to all cloud at first, and require transitions and flexibility," said Nancy Jamison, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan.  

With a growing interest in cloud-based services, more vendors, such as Avaya, have offered hybrid cloud applications.

ShoreTel, Lazar said, is ahead of the curve in respect to vendors that offer hybrid services. But, he said, other vendors are sure to catch up.

"The other vendors with similar capabilities rely on partner-hosted models," Lazar said. "The pure-[software as a service] players, like Fuze, RingCentral and 8x8, do not have the ability to support on-premises hybrid models."

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