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Avaya on Wednesday launched a fully-virtualized version of its flagship Aura UC platform, meaning that Aura customers can now easily enable Aura applications in VMware-based environments instead of needing dedicated servers to deploy Aura.
It's a much-anticipated move from Avaya, whose Aura Virtualized Environment (VE) applications have been designated "VMware-ready." The new platform preserves all of the standard Avaya Aura system functions, including software duplication and redundant session controls for SIP access. Aura VE integrates with VMware's vCenter, and companies that use VMware can access and use Aura applications in their existing infrastructure.
"This is a great way for customers to migrate if they have VMware today and are looking for a better UC solution," Tac Berry, product marketing manager for Avaya Collaboration Platforms, told CRN. "They can now load Avaya Aura directly onto those VM servers."
Avaya's made the full range of its major communications applications available in Aura VE, including Aura Communication Manager, Avaya Session Manager, Application Enablement Services, Aura Presence Services, Flare Experience, Aura Conferencing, Agile Communications Environment (ACE) and Aura Call Center Elite.
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Customers will still have the option to buy the fully virtualized Aura or the server-based dedicated hardware version of Aura. They can also combine servers and virtualize some applications if they choose. Yet another option will be Avaya's recently announced Collaboration Pods -- pre-packaged converged infrastructure solutions that combine Avaya UC and networking, EMC storage, VMware software and Lenovo, as well as other third-party servers.
The pricing scheme for Aura VE is the same as server-based Avaya Aura, with no change in the licensing model, according to the company. Aura software and licenses are offered based on users and application features, with no additional charge for Aura VE virtual appliances the customer wants to download. Existing Avaya customers should be able to upgrade for about $100 per user, Avaya said, while new Aura VE deployments will net-out between $250 and $600 per user.
According to Berry, the Aura VE move will help Avaya deepen its relationship with current UC partners that want to capture more of customers' overall data center spend.
"They need to be part of that discussion," Berry said. "This is the discussion now happening between the UC people and the IT people. They can offer the software and support the implementation and also give customers more options for buying their UC platform while adding services, too. Many of our partners are already VMware resellers, so they see the connection immediately."
Avaya has no immediate plans to offer a similar version of Aura with other virtualization environments such as Microsoft Hyper-V or Citrix XenServer, though it does already offer its One-X communicator platform in Citrix VDI environments.
"It's something we will look at as we hear more feedback and customers see more incentives to move to Hyper-V," Berry said. "We do see it as possible."