Communications and collaborations company Avaya is looking to lower the cost of entry to its IP Office software suite by allowing users to run it inside a virtual machine.

IP Office 9.0 builds on last year's version, which allowed companies to run it on hardware other than a dedicated server for the first time, and it can also run on a dedicated appliance.

It offers companies a "complete unified communications" solution, according to Avaya, which provides telephony, voice mail, email, instant messaging and text messaging when used in conjunction with the company's range of digital IP handsets.

Virtual savings

Avaya's UK&I Managing Director Simon Culmer told TRPro that running IP Office in VMware virtualised environment allows more 'small and midsized businesses' (SMBs) to get onboard.

He says: "I think the virtualisation route will be popular as it reduces the entry cost. Before if you had to buy the software and server there was a higher barrier to entry.

"Many companies if they have already virtualised will have some spare capacity. This is not processor-hungry software. While it's sophisticated it doesn't need millions of megaflops to get it to run - and it's very frugal with bandwidth."

Doubled comms

Though the suite has been aimed at smaller businesses so far, Avaya is looking to break into the midmarket with IP Office 9.0, which doubles IP Office's 8.0's number of supported users to 2,000.

Companies can buy it outright as a software app or pay for it as a service on a per-user basis from Avaya's channel partners (in the near future), says Culmer.

In addition to increased scale, Avaya says that the update offers more flexible deployment options, simplified management, support for enterprise branch deployments, videoconferencing-style functionality on smartphones, tablets and PCs and a one-hour deployment time.