Avaya Launches SMB Version Of VoIP Platform Aura

Avaya intends the platform as a low-cost offering for businesses between 100 to 2,400 users in up to 250 remote locations that are interested in a features-rich UC architecture but might not be able to invest in the servers and other hardware needed to sustain it.

"It allows us to take individual point products that would have had to ride on separate servers. Now using this technology, we can combine multiple applications together on a single server," said Bruce Mazza, director of branch solutions at Avaya.

The ability to deploy various Avaya UC technologies -- Avaya Communication Manager, Voice Messaging, SIP Enablement Services, Application Enablement Services, Utility Services and Media Services -- on the one server means up to 75 percent reduction in both hardware and the power and cooling necessary to maintain that hardware, Mazza said.

He added that virtualization will be Avaya's de facto method for deploying IP applications going forward.

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Avaya Aura for midsize enterprises comes in two editions, Standard and Enterprise. The Standard edition costs $60 a user, and the Enterprise edition, priced by company size, bundles in Avaya Unified Communications All Inclusive, a single license for providing IP communications to corporate users in offices, on mobile devices and in remote locations.

The architecture for Avaya Aura for midsize enterprises is based on the first version of Avaya Aura, which was designed for large enterprises and debuted in May at VoiceCon Orlando 2009.

Mazza said the midsize version of Aura was also created with an eye toward VARs who want to add Avaya Contact Center Express -- midmarket contact center software that combines a unified desktop display with CRM software like Microsoft Dynamics CRM -- to their solution sets.

Aura midsize, which will be available through Avaya channel partners in November, is one of several new products and services Avaya is launching around its annual Global Sales and Americas Partner Conference, kicking off in Nashville this week.

"It's very much part of the channel-friendly push Avaya's making," Mazza said. "There's big benefit in a simple solution. It reduces hardware footprint for, example. We're very much attuned to partners' needs for simplification and less moving parts. You can install it in a tenth of the time a traditional solution here would need to be installed. It can be remotely deployed in one to two hours, and you see immediate benefits."

"It seemed like if customers were going to advance and use all the feature functionality, it was starting to require a lot of servers," said Julie Sticha, national account manager, at NACR, an Eagan, Minn.-based solution provider. "It'll make it so at least small and midsized customers -- and possibly a little larger -- will get all the feature functionality they need off one server, which is a big financial advantage up front and important to the care and feeding of the systems going forward."

Sticha and NACR were among the solution providers who implemented the midsize edition of Aura in beta. While Sticha did report some challenges -- a few bugs here and there, she said -- there was nothing to suggest Aura wouldn't be as simple to implement as Avaya suggested.

"It'll be good for small and medium customers," she said. "And I think they'll be interested and excited to see it."