Webinar Recap: Don’t forget to do these things when upgrading to ShoreTel Connect
By Chris Mitchell, Chief Technology Officer
If you work in the industry, you’ll know all about ShoreTel Connect and the impending need for your organization to upgrade to the newest version of ShoreTels on-premises Cloud solution. Some of our clients have already made the leap, but most are still waiting to upgrade. Our latest webinar was for all of you out there who want to get all of your ducks in a row before committing to the upgrade. We covered everything you need to know and do when upgrading to ShoreTel connect in this post.
A quick Connect recap
Connect is the newest version of ShoreTel’s on-prem in Cloud solution. If you’re familiar with ShoreTel versions going back, this is effectively version 15 for on-premise customers. It’s important to remember, however, that if you hear Connect, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cloud and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s on-prem. It could mean either or both.
To make things a little more confusing, Mitel, who recently acquired ShoreTel was very quick on rebranding. As such, ShoreTel Connect is now called, in the Mitel family, MiVoice Connect. That is the on-site ShoreTel Connect product.
What’s changing with connect?
Before we jump in with the changes that Connect brings, we need to issue a word of warning. The new platform brings a lot of changes, particularly to the desktop client, but it is based on the same code as version 14. That means if you have been having problems related to the code, upgrading to Connect won’t necessarily solve them. We highly recommend solving these issues first before upgrading.
The new client is the biggest change for customers. It’s a whole new end-user client that is completely different from what everybody was used to with Communicator. This is the look of the new client. It’s also the look of the mobile client.
The client starts out as a slim bar somewhat like the Communicator and then it expands into different panels as you’re using it. Then it minimizes back down. It’s just the slim panel when you’re not utilizing any additional features of the product. It’s very similar to how it currently looks when it’s not in use and then it can take up a full screen if you’re utilizing the application on that side.
If you haven’t heard already, the desktop client works on a Mac OS and the Windows OS. There is full feature parity between both systems so you don’t have to worry about features not working on the Mac version.
One of the other big changes was the elimination of docking. The application doesn’t dock anymore. That’s probably the biggest feature loss at this point.
Despite this, feedback has been really good. A lot of customers like it. There’s some feature enhancement or something like that.
There is also a licensing change that comes with the Connect upgrade.
When Mitel acquired ShoreTel, they added additional licensing. Every customer upgrading Connect gets a free upgrade to what’s now called the essentials bundles. You used to pay $200 for an extension in mailbox on version 14.2. Well that price doesn’t change but you now get so much more.
Now, for that $200, you get:
- An extension
- A mailbox
- A desktop client license
- A mobile license
- Connect Telephony for Microsoft (allows you to use Skype for Business)
- Connect for Chrome (run a version in Google Chrome)
- One-to-one video license
- A cellphone license
This all used to cost over $500 if bought separately. Now it is bundled together for $200.
The big news, and this just got announced on Thursday of last week, is that Hyper-V support is available with Connect. This is fantastic and it’s something we’ve been pushing and pushing for.
Right now, you can deploy the Linux DVS, the virtual trunk and virtual phone switches in Hyper-V.
The two things that aren’t Hyper-V compatible yet is the Edge Gateway, which is what controls all of your outside access, and the mobility router.
The main reason is that the Edge Gateway and the mobility router were both acquired via an acquisition. ShoreTel didn’t write that code from the ground up. They’re having to do additional modification to the source code to make them Hyper-V compatible.
They do anticipate them being Hyper-V compatible, it’s just taking them a little bit longer. They didn’t want to hold back everything from being Hyper-V compatible to wait for those. As a result, they went ahead and released them in two different phases.
There will no longer be production runs on old switches. These include SG half-width switches such as 30, 50, 90, 220, T1Ks, and E1Ks. While these aren’t affected right now, they will run out. Going forward customers will just buy either virtual switches or the new ST switches.
The new ST switches are actually much better switches. They have more memory, more processing power, more analog resource capabilities, and no trade-off between analog and IP resources. If it says it’s a ST50, it’ll run 50 IP phones plus any analog resource capabilities.
The caveat is the ST switches aren’t backward compatible. So when you’re looking to go to ST switches, we need to time that with your Connect upgrade.
The SG half-width switches will continue to be supported in 14.2 and in Connect, however. They don’t have to be replaced right now. They’re going to be supported for years to come. You just won’t be able to get anymore.
Stay tuned for next week’s post continuing the conversation about upgrading to ShoreTel Connect. We’ll be covering more on changing switches, contacts, and training.
We’d love to hear your feedback on our posts! Are you finding them helpful? Know that Brandon and Chris are a call or email away if you have any questions.