Westcon Sees Inroads With Avaya Data Networking

Avaya in the past year has been steadily releasing products behind its Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA), which is Avaya's entry into the increasingly tense competition between major networking vendors pushing an architectural approach for optimizing IT infrastructure for virtualized environments. Last month, Avaya extended VENA to the data center edge with the release of the VSP 7000, a 24-port, 10 GbE top-of-rack switch. The VSR 9000 itself is a modular chassis combination hardware router and Ethernet switch unit.

According to Avaya, all four of its major U.S. distributors now have the VSP 9000, including Westcon, Catalyst Telecom, Tech Data and Jenne. Westcon has global distribution rights.

Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada for Westcon, said the VSP 9000 is perfect for capitalizing on the virtualization trend, and it also extends a relationship with Westcon that has existed, in some form, for more than two decades. Some of the technology in the VSP 9000 can be traced all the way back to SynOptics, Murphy said, which merged with Wellfleet Communications in 1994 to become Bay Networks, which was in turn acquired by Nortel in 1998. Nortel's enterprise business unit was acquired by Avaya in 2009.

"We think this really demonstrates Avaya's acknowledgment of the partnership between unique companies," Smurthwaite-Murphy said. "Especially in North America, we have that Nortel and Avaya heritage from our longstanding distribution rights with both. That naturally gives us an advantage when it comes to both portfolios."

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Westcon will also be bringing training for Avaya VSP 9000 and data networking solutions into its LEAP program (Learn, Experience, Architect and Plan), which provides VARs hands-on training for data center and virtualization-centric solutions.

Westcon in the past 18 months has made a series of moves designed to help VARs get better educated on the Avaya portfolio. In addition to the VSR 9000 and the data networking emphasis, Westcon previously rolled out RapidRamp, a series of Avaya product training courses. Earlier Thursday, it announced the newest version of its Unified Communicatons Solutions Handbook, with an expanded section on Avaya platforms like Aura and the Avaya Flare Experience.