Build ShoreTel Connect inside your own private Cloud using AWS!
June 12th, 2016

Placing your ShoreTel HQ in the "cloud"?

Moving the ShoreTel HQ server to a data center to increase system resiliency, reduce or eliminate down time and increasing overall recovery times has always been high on the check list for business continuity and disaster preparedness.    Our preferred "data center" however is Amazon Web Services, or AWS for short!   We have been deploying ShoreTel in AWS as a "private" cloud solution for some time and have several blogs on the subject.

Do you already have an Amazon Account?

If  you have a regular old Amazon book buying account, you already have all you need to log into AWS and get started building out your own virtual private cloud!    Though there is a lot to learn,  in less than 15 minutes you can spin up a Windows 2012 Server in a virtual private network and then link it back to your onsite location with an AWS provided VPN Gateway!

The simplest ShoreTel/AWS deployment model

The simplest of VoIP deployment models is the placement of the ShoreTel Connect Server in an AWS Region and availability zone of your choice.    Typically, we defined a private subnet in three different AWS availability zones and then launched a ShoreTel Connect server.    The availability zones provide additional resiliency  options.  It is even possible to setup an Elastic load balancer than can move from one ShoreTel HQ server to a standby duplicate in another availability zone in the very unlikely situation of a AWS availability zone going off line! You can interconnect your ShoreTel Connect VPC  with your remote sites over a VPN, ultimately moving to a "direct connect" circuit and only using the VPN for backup.   The remote sites will have ShoreGear resources to support localized carrier access and onsite user phone services.   The distributed nature of the ShoreTel architecture makes this a natural deployment model.   This is  by far the simplest of the deployment options and one that everyone who is considering moving a ShoreTel HQ server to a data center should consider.

Even Ingate in the Cloud?

With ShoreTel Version 14, virtual switch resources make it possible to create the entire deployment in your VPC.  You can even deploy your Ingate as a virtual Session Border Controller, in the AWS cloud and centralize your SIP carrier access.    This is a bit more demanding then spinning up a Windows server but now that AWS enables you to import vmware machines, it is an exciting option.

Importing vmware based ShoreTel machines

The secret to deploying ShoreTel vSwitches in the AWS cloud is to first build the machines as vmware machines in your local environment with an IP that can be duplicated in your private virtual network.   Once your machines are created, you can then import them into AWS. The options for deploying VOIP in your own "private cloud" have never been more flexible.   Your CFO is going to be impressed when comparing AWS to the cost of building out your own data center or renting space in a collocation facility.   You have all of the benefits and none of the cost associated with a typical infrastructure build out.    Connection options are unlimited and you can access AWS facilities on a global bases! The Video clip demonstrates a ShoreTel HQ and ECC Server in an AWS VPC, with a VPN back to the main office site.   The office site contains ShoreGear switches for SIP trunk access and 400 series phone support.  There is a synergy when integrating AWS and ShoreTel that every CIO should be seriously considering.    Give us a call and we can help make this happen for your company!