5 ways Avaya can stave off irrelevancy

By , Network World |  Networking, Avaya

Avaya's focus for 2012 will be on tightly aligning its networking infrastructure products to applications in those five target markets. Those applications include Avaya's own unified communications and contact center packages, Web Alive collaboration application, and to other general purpose business applications, like databases, ERP, CRM, etc.

"We believe that we've got a unique opportunity to get tightly coupled with applications," Randall says. "Cisco's become so siloed recently that getting a tighter connection to the applications turned out to be a bigger, bigger challenge, and I think that's where the industry's going to go.

"If we can pull off tying the application to the infrastructure, where the applications run better, I thought this was going to be a great opportunity."

In the campus, Randall believes Avaya's Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA) will appeal to organizations looking to overcome the scalability limitations of Ethernet's Spanning Tree protocol. VENA is based on the IEEE's Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) specification, which uses a link state routing protocol to allow switches to learn the shortest paths through an Ethernet fabric and dynamically adjust to topology changes. SPB also allows Ethernet networks to deploy multiple active paths to overcome the traditional active-passive redundancy of Spanning Tree, in which half of all ports could be in a non-forwarding mode.

There's also an opportunity to ride on the back of Avaya's unified communications and collaboration portfolio in enterprise campuses, especially if the company's switches are optimized for those applications.

"There's no reason that (channel partners) can't attach data (to Avaya UC offerings)," Randall says. "So we've got an initiative -- I call it the first hop into the network. If you sell an Avaya VoIP phone, that phone should be attached to an Avaya switch with an Avaya identity engine doing the policy management. If you have an existing infrastructure you connect the Avaya switch into the existing infrastructure. That for us would be a tremendous port win."

The data center is another natural fit for VENA -- and vice versa, Randall believes. With data center switching fabrics moving to low latency, multipath architectures, VENA and its SPB foundation are up to the task.

Indeed, VENA was initially introduced to address these new, flat, low-latency Ethernet fabrics for the data center. And it brings simplicity to an overly complicated consideration, Randall says.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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