To the cloud! To the cloud! Today's mantra is "to the cloud". Sometimes the cloud is the right answer. Sometimes it's not. When do you stop and re-think video deployments in the cloud? It's all about who's calling where.
Let's take a typical company. There are three main headquarters locations: London, New York, and Miami. The scenario is a cross-functional team call, where everyone needs to get together and meet to discuss a new product launch. There are different types of video devices in each room. Lan bandwidth within a site is (essentially) unlimited. WAN bandwidth and internet connectivity is limited (and has costs). Call speeds by device type:
Mobile client (iPad) = 0.5mb/call (512k)
Desktop video conference device = 1 mb/call
Room-based video conference device = 2mb/call
Immersive Telepresence suite = 12mb/call
The diagram below is a typical on-premises deployment of a video system. Note that the only traffic traversing the internet comes from the mobile clients outside the network. All the rest of the traffic stays inside the organization.
Note that the link between any one site and the MPLS network is 16 mb (coming from all the other sites, to NYC Collaboration Server/MCU). Link to the internet is only 0.5 mb. You can give best effort quality to the people on the internet. People on your network can be segregated & prioritized via QOS, VLANs, or many other mechanism.
Moving the Collaboration Server (MCU) into the cloud (like many upstart providers require you to do,) then all of your calls traverse WAN links, and out to the public internet. On the public internet, you lose any prioritization of video packets, you lose control over QOS, any potential control over latency or packet loss. Oh, and that bandwidth costs you money!
On the other hand, there are certain use cases where putting the Collaboration Server in the cloud does make sense. For example, if you are expecting a large number of participants from outside your organization, if you have high number of users working from home, or don't have a strong internal core network and want to run all calls over the public internet. A school or other distance learning environment is a good example of this type of use case.
Understand your environment, understand who's calling who, and choose the design (and vendor). Polycom can support either or both models, or a hybrid between the two. Polycom engineers and our partners, can help you work through your specific requirements and design the correct solution for your requirements.