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Avaya Makes SDN Debut With New Data Center Framework

Avaya this week revealed its strategy around the buzzed-about SDN trend in the form of its new Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) framework.

Avaya this week made its formal debut into the buzzed-about and increasingly crowded software-defined networking market, revealing the Avaya Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) framework, a set of technologies Avaya said will help automate and streamline the management of compute, storage and networking components within the data center.

The new Avaya SDDC, according to Randy Cross, director of fabric and infrastructure product management for Avaya, is the first of many investments Avaya plans to make in the SDN space moving forward.

"This is one of our top priorities," Cross told CRN. "SDDC is the first step, or the first announcement, of our overall SDN strategy."

[Related: Avaya Launches Consulting Services To Help Drive UC To The Cloud ]

Avaya's SDDC framework is based on OpenStack, a set of open-source tools for building and managing Infrastructure-as-a-Service clouds, along with Avaya's homegrown data center fabric technology, called Fabric Connect, rolled out earlier this year.

The OpenStack platform, according to Avaya, will help data center administrators streamline processes like deploying virtual machines, and assigning storage resources and configuring networks through a single user interface. Avaya said the framework also includes its OpenStack Horizon-based Management Platform for orchestration across compute, storage and network environments.

NEXT: Weaving Fabric Into OpenStack Framework

Avaya's Fabric Connect technology will be integrated into this OpenStack-based framework, facilitating the move of virtual machines within the same or different data centers. Avaya describes Fabric Connect as the "virtual backbone" of the framework, connecting pools of resources within and between data centers, and allowing for greater flexibility and scale.

According to Avaya, this fabric technology will leverage open APIs to ensure interoperability with other SDN architectures, along with greater levels of customization. Cross said these open APIs also will benefit Avaya partners by opening up new services opportunities.

"These pieces become really important for the channel because, from the public API perspective, this gives the channel the opportunity to go out and provide services around custom applications, writing APIs or even helping [customers] with federating controllers and connecting up to other public APIs," Cross said.

Avaya said benefits of its new SDDC framework will include reduced deployment times for cloud-based services and applications, and greater scalability compared to traditional Ethernet-based networks, with the ability to scale out to support more than 16 million unique services.

Avaya's new SDDC framework marks the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based company's formal entry into the burgeoning SDN space, a market research firm IDC projects to be worth $3.7 billion by 2016. Companies ranging from networking giants like Cisco and Juniper to SDN-focused startups like Big Switch Networks have been aggressively vying for a piece of that billion-dollar pie, rolling out SDN technologies of their own.

Jeff Hiebert, CEO of ROI Networks, a San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based solution provider and Avaya partner, called Avaya's SDDC unveiling a "great announcement" and one that could "set Avaya up for some massive market share gains at Cisco's expense."

"If Avaya succeeds [in] simplifying and automating complex virtualized and big data deployment and management at a far greater TCO metric than major existing competitors, look out," Hiebert told CRN in an emailed statement.

Cisco declined CRN's request for comment.

Cross, for his part, agreed with Hiebert that Avaya is poised to become a major force and differentiator in the SDN market.

"[Other vendors] are either very data center-centric and, in some cases, single data center-centric, or very infrastructure-centric," Cross said. "There aren’t a lot of vendors that look at things from the application all the way to the infrastructure. We really have a unique benefit there, because we have both those pieces."


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