Sizing Your Fax Server Requirements

(Fax) Size Really Matters

Deploying a fax server to meet your company’s needs today and tomorrow requires careful planning. So many organizational metrics come into play when sizing up your server. How do you tackle such a daunting task? Here’s where to start:

  1. Take stock – You’ll need to do some sleuthing around your organization to quantify who, what, when and where fax documents are being created, delivered, and received. Find the fax machines first and determine how many pages go in, go out, and require storage. Then, you can start to discover which processes are involved.  Who sends those faxes? Why? How many users are parts of the process?  This investigation can reveal  other paper-based processes,  especially those being used with any multi-function devices (MFDs), or back office ERP systems.   All of these are ideal targets for automating and securing fax document delivery with a fax server integration such as Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition. Remember to plan for the future too. Once a fax server is deployed, other business units and their processes may be ideal to automate with your fax application. Sounds easy, but you’d be surprised how many different paper based processes you may find. Remember, Open Text Fax Server sends documents as faxes, PDF, Emails, secure email and certified email too so don’t limit yourself when you conduct your internal needs assessment.
  2. Do the Math – It’s simple: fax servers, whether using traditional phone lines or via the Internet, require “channels” as a means to define bandwidth. Channels can process fax pages at a fairly predictable rate. Thus, knowing the number of pages being sent and received on a particular day, week or month is the best way to size up the number of channels needed – easy!  The number commonly used today is 1 fax page consumes a minute of session time on the phone network or the IP network. So, if you process 5000 fax pages per day, assuming an 8-hour day, then that’s 5000/8hours/60minutes  = 10.4. This means you would need an 11 channel server at a minimum. Obviously, it can get more complex than that and you should always reserve a test channel so in this case we’d recommend a 12 channel server.  Fax storage is easy to compute too. If we take an average of 2.5 pages per fax, and the average fax is 90kB, then storage requirements can be easily estimated. Remember these are just averages – work closely with your Fax Server vendor to better understand YOUR numbers.
  3. Who’s’ in the game? Understand where the fax server will reside within your infrastructure. This is where it can get interesting. In addition to the number of channels you’ll need, your fax server strategy must also include an understanding of the overall topology and the necessary systems required to support it now and in the future. Things like server’s CPU size, storage requirements, database, directory integration, telephony requirements (IP, PSTN, or both?), and redundancy strategies – all need careful planning and consideration, especially across larger organizations. Integration with email will require additional modules, as with certain MFPs or ERP systems too.

Putting it all together seems daunting – but not to worry, the great thing about Open Text Fax Server’s scalable solution, is just that – it scales. You can roll out your deployment over time to avoid lengthy downtime and start seeing the paybacks right way. Start with the neediest users, groups, or business processes first, and then plan your expansion strategy. The multi-layered architecture allows you to add channels, connectors and modules, users or groups, document processors and remote sites too. Not to mention the new licensing utility in version Fax Server, RightFax Edition 9.4 means expanding your fax investment across your enterprise is easy too.

Well what are you waiting for?  Go get started!  Check out our complete Fax Server Sizing and Deployment Guide, part of the eBook, located here.


1 Response to “Sizing Your Fax Server Requirements”

  1. 1 Mark Howarth November 5, 2009 at 2:06 am

    Yes size does matter but there’s definitely more. Platinum Certified Fax and Document Distribution partners like Axient will typically have the consulting and professional services skills to determine optimum system size plus best practice architecture that is aligned with your IT strategy.

    As an example, if you are deploying multiple servers or consolidating from many too few these may include an understanding of the Shared Services module and its role in:

    o Database consolidation from many to few
    o High availability, redundancy and resilience
    o NAS & SQL clustering support taking advantage of replication technology
    o Vertical and horizontal scalability of system architecture and performance
    o Load balancing (Thresholds)
    o System performance to help manage bottlenecks and provide service level risk mitigation
    o Client fail-over

    In addition to this other key considerations may be Active Directory Support via the Sync Module, SR140 software latency and bandwidth requirements.

    The Open Text Fax Server (RightFax) clearly has a significant and proven track record in enterprise IT infrastructure deployments.

    Platinum Certified partners understand these environments.

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