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 In 2014 and beyond, we will see virtualization and faxing meet with more emphasis on faxing. You may ask: “Do people still fax?” The answer is, they absolutely do, in greater numbers each year. What’s changing is that they’re not faxing from fax machines anymore-they’re faxing from desktops, email-to-fax services, multi-function devices, and of course, from enterprise-strength computer-based solutions. We are seeing more and more companies, of all sizes and business types, migrating to virtualization for a variety of reasons. Frequently cited reasons are cost savings, reducing power consumption and going “greener,” conserving space in the data center, and better disaster recovery. Today, many business moving to virtualization because it offers specific benefits when it comes to enterprise fax servers.

First-we’re seeing that IT departments don’t want to deal with hardware anymore, especially having to open a server and physically install a fax board. There are all sorts of considerations-does the fax server have the right slot type, is there room in the fax server, how fast can the board be replaced if it should fail, etc. And then, there’s the setup of the telecom service going into the board. IT departments may or may not be proficient in telecom, and the meeting of the computer and telecom worlds can be time-consuming and challenging. A fax board is also another piece of inventory that has to be tracked. Plus of course, you can’t put a board in a virtual server! We definitely see a trend with IT departments being more and more interested in maintaining a software-only enterprise fax solution for the reasons mentioned.

Second, voice-over-IP (VoIP) will continue its growth across markets in 2014, even in small businesses. CIOs, IT managers, and CFOs are anxious to move away from traditional telecom lines due to cost, inflexibility, maintenance issues, and having to install and run phone lines separate from all other networks. Everyone is interested in leveraging their existing VoIP infrastructure, or taking full advantage of a new VoIP solution to which they’re migrating. To do that, they need to make use of fax-over-IP (FoIP) technology. With FoIP, instead of phone lines running into fax boards, a FoIP license is installed in a fax server with the fax software “on top” of the license. Then, fax images can be transported in real time across IP networks using the T.38 FoIP protocol, itself a solid technology that has existed for around 15 years. Thus, this gives everyone what they want-a software only fax server.

Virtualization is projected to grow in 2014 and beyond. Faxing will still grow, and that may be a surprise to some! With the power-and reliability-of FoIP solutions, businesses will continue to leverage their virtual machines as part of a robust faxing infrastructure.

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About the Author

Nick DiCiaccio is a senior communications engineer at Biscom, a leader in secure document delivery solutions.

Published Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:13 AM