Avaya Rolls Out Virtual Networking Architecture


Avaya on Wednesday launched a new data networking architecture, advancing the ball on both the growth of its data networking business and its overall virtualization strategy.

Avaya Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture, or Avaya VENA, supports the emerging IEEE 802.1AQ Shortest Path Bridging standard. It's a software upgrade to Avaya's 8600, 8800 and VSP 9000 Ethernet switch lines, and is said to optimize those switches and other Avaya data products for virtual environments.

Avaya customers that use VENA will be able to rely on a "virtual services fabric" for one-touch provisioning of network services, which according to Avaya means easier access to network applications and fewer "human error" provisioning failures. In a VENA press release, Avaya cites data from research firm The Yankee Group stating that 37 percent of all network downtime is caused by human error.

"No one else can offer this level of simplicity around virtualization and collaboration," said Steve Bandrowczak, vice president and general manager, Avaya Data Solutions, in a statement. "Together with our technology partners, we are delivering a truly revolutionary and unique solution that maximizes the business model for virtualization and data center networking."

Avaya's acquisition of Nortel's former enterprise business unit thrust Avaya into the data networking arena, and Bandrowczak told CRN in August that the growth of that business will double for Avaya over the next two years. Bandrowczak urged partners at Avaya's recent Americas partner conference to jump on board with Avaya for data networking; Avaya's Jeremy Butt, vice president, worldwide channels, also announced new certifications specific to the data business.

Optimizing Ethernet switches for virtualized environments -- and creating easier access and provisioning of data networking resources -- has become a popular play among major data networking vendors. Avaya's VENA will compete with rival architectures such as Brocade's Brocade One, Cisco's FabricPath and Juniper's Virtual Chassis.

Avaya on Wedneday further confirmed a number of strategic partnerships to support VENA, including with VMware, QLogic, Coraid and Silver Peak Systems, as well as support from the developer partners in Avaya's DevConnect program.

Few details about how Avaya will further integrate VENA into its broader portfolio are available, but VENA will be available on the 8600 and 8800 switches early next year, and is available for the VSP 9000 now. Avaya also said Wednesday that it will release a series of campus products in early 2011 to extend the fabric to the campus branch and edge.