Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics Disagree...Over the Cloud

When the Brooklyn Nets traveled to Boston to play the Celtics last week, it became apparent that the two organizations disagreed about something - the cloud.

By Colin Neagle
Mon, December 03, 2012

Network World — When the Brooklyn Nets traveled to Boston to play the Celtics last week, it became apparent that the two organizations disagreed about something - the cloud.

Hours before players from both teams would erupt in an ugly and unexpected on-court fistfight, IT specialists from either team more respectfully expressed their differing views over whether their unified communications systems should be hosted in the cloud.

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Mireille Viau Verna, senior director of IT for the Brooklyn Nets, discussed the organization's recent implementation of a cloud-based UC suite. The solution, ShoreTel Sky, was based on technology initially from M5 Networks, which had since been acquired by and turned into the cloud wing of ShoreTel. Although Viau Verna cited cost and ease of use as the factors that made the cloud attractive, its disaster recovery and continuity benefits had also recently shone through.

Prior to the move to Brooklyn, the Nets' business operations were held in East Rutherford, N.J., where Viau Verna says they "would have been slammed by Hurricane Sandy." Potential outages to the on-premise UC system used at the New Jersey campus only would have made matters worse.

Although the storm forced the Nets to postpone their season-opening game against the crosstown rival New York Knicks, the Nets' front office UC system never skipped a beat.

On the other side of the court, the Boston Celtics, another ShoreTel customer, discussed its recent deployment of an on-premise UC solution that replaced an Avaya suite the Celtics had used for the past 12 years. Jay Wessel, the Celtics' vice president of technology, says he "was a little nervous about putting the system in the cloud." He called the phone system "mission-critical," and praised the control and access to the hardware afforded through an on-premise system. Wessel says that migrating some parts of its infrastructure to the cloud is a possibility in the future, but maintains that he has no concrete plans to do so.

Wessel puts such high-priority on the UC system because of its importance to coordinating the franchises business and basketball operations. While the business side of the organization is located steps away from the teams famed home court on Causeway Street in Bostons West End, the teams basketball operations are managed at a separate facility outside the city in Waltham, Mass. Maintaining communications between both facilities is essential to day-to-day operations for the team.

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