Avaya Adds to its Switch Architecture

by Yuyutsu Sen on November 17, 2011

Avaya recently released extensions to its ERS (Ethernet Routing Switch) 4000 series switches. The 4000 series switches have been designed to simplify the convergence of data, voice and video, and to aid enterprises in network optimization for collaboration. The stacking bandwidth has been increased from 320G to 384Gbps, which is one of the main features of the line.

Last year the company unveiled a blueprint of VENA (Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture) to enable enterprises to optimize the network for services through virtualization and business applications, and the 4000 series switches are compatible with it. VENA, a software enhancement, supports the developing IEEE 802.1AQ SPB (Shortest Path Bridging) standard for setting up several active paths in a data center switch fabric.

SPB has not been extraordinarily successful. However, according to the company, clients are opting for VENA components like enhanced SPB, switch clustering, network access control, network management and wireless networking. While releasing switch extensions Avaya indicated that the response from data centers and campuses to its virtualized networking architecture was positive. The company also rolled out new software along with the switches. One of the many features of the software is the support for PoE (Power over Ethernet) and PoE+.

According to Avaya Networking global general manager Jean Turgeon, VENA based switches have been picked up by numerous customers, who are happy with the direction in which the company is headed. He further added that momentum for the architecture is building and the company’s long term strategy is a success.

But these claims fail to convince the principal of ZK research Zeus Kerravala. He opines that all fabric architectures present in the market including VENA need some real accounts displaying operational lift or quantifiable value to convince customers. The claims of most of the players in the industry are currently based on theory rather than on actual client deployments. Apart from Avaya, other major companies offering fabric architecture and network virtualization include IBM, Dell, Extreme, Brocade, Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and Enterasys.

Although SPB in particular has not generated a lot of interest, Turgeon has cited VENA strategy launch as one of the most successful launches in the company’s history and that the message is resonating with potential customers. At present VM mobility and data center present the biggest challenges for enterprises and Avaya manages to tackle these successfully. With the need for per box provisioning, the company is offering new services across the campus.

The company’s efforts for expanding the fabric to campus edge have been appreciated by Kerravala as it will help bring down latency and enhance the working of applications. But the company is finding it difficult to generate interest outside the base of Nortel Enterprise Solutions. Even the telephony base, which is Avaya’s traditional base, is yet to be milked. Avaya acquired Nortel’s Enterprise Solutions group for $900 million last year. The company has been successful in pushing its products in Nortel base and the traditional phone base should be their next focus area.

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Written by: Yuyutsu Sen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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