Avaya Extends Virtualization Architecture To Campus

Avaya on Tuesday added several updates behind its Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA), the company's data networking architecture and a significant piece of Avaya's developing data networking presence.

Specifically, VENA is now enabled for Avaya's Ethernet Routing Switch 8800 and 8600 product lines, meaning users can rely on network virtualization and IEEE Shortest Path Bridging (802.1aq) to manage and provision their applications using campus, in addition to data center, networks.

"Data centers are not the only areas that enterprises use to provide services—many have large campus environments that run key applications like contact centers that would benefit from virtualization," said Steve Bandrowczak, vice president and general manager, data solutions at Avaya. "In the past, virtualizing those applications and providing them to the enterprise meant having to centralize them back into the data center. We are changing that. Not everything has to happen in the data center anymore."

New ERS 8800 and ERS 8600 customers get the features immediately, while existing customers who can support Release 7.1 can receive them via software update, according to Avaya.

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Avaya first launched VENA in November as a software upgrade to its 8600, 8800 and VSP 9000 Ethernet switch lines, saying at the time it would add campus networking capabilities in the new year.

Key to VENA is the ability to use a "virtual services fabric" to perform one-touch services provisioning, and enable easier network access while preventing provisioning failures brought on by human error.

Bandrowczak said there will be more updates to Avaya's data portfolio in the spring, and Avaya will continue to add more vendor and developer (DevConnect) partners for VENA.

VENA's emergence comes at a time where many of Avaya's data networking competitors are also forging ahead on optimizing products for virtualized environments. VENA competes with rival architectures like Cisco's FabricPath and Brocade's Brocade One. Juniper is expected to unveil Stratus, its next-gen data center fabric, later this week.

In a CRN interview, Bandrowczak emphasized VENA's support for IEEE Shortest Path Bridging, and its network management capabilities as key differentiators for Avaya.

The campus emphasis, he said, is another thing that sets Avaya's approach apart.

"With Avaya VENA in the campus, we are giving customers the flexibility to run services and applications in place, with all the benefits of virtualization," he said. "There is no need to move things back to the data center or further complicate the network. We think we're early to push this, but we believe that others will follow our strategy since it makes sense in the enterprise."