Avaya Grows SDN Portfolio with Open Architecture
The company's SDN Fx offering is aimed at extending the reach of SDN from the data center to the network edge, according to officials.Avaya is expanding its presence in the highly competitive SDN market with an architecture and other technologies designed to enable organizations to extend the reach of the network beyond the data center to include devices at the network edge. The company made some steps into the software-defined networking space, including unveiling a data center orchestration and automation framework in 2013 based on the OpenStack platform and the company's own Fabric Connect technology. However, the introduction Feb. 24 of the SDN Fx architecture represented Avaya making a significant push into a market that includes a broad array of established tech vendors—like Cisco Systems and VMware—and smaller vendors and startups, such as Big Switch Networks, Plexxi and Midokura. Avaya is best known for its unified communications and collaboration technologies, but gained a foothold in the networking market with its acquisition of Nortel Networks' enterprise business in 2009. Randy Cross, senior director of product management at Avaya, admitted that the company is making its way into the SDN space after others had already begun to build up their portfolios over the past couple of years. However, the SDN Fx architecture offers an alternative to network overlays and other offerings, according to Cross. "We've been fairly quiet and working in the background and trying to get to the right place," he told eWEEK.
That right place is an architecture that makes connecting devices and people to the network relatively easy, and that stretches from the data center to the edge of the network, which is getting a lot of attention from tech vendors and businesses, due to such trends as greater worker mobility and the burgeoning Internet of things (IoT). Cross pointed to a recent Avaya survey that indicated that 99 percent of IT professionals say they want to see SDN extend beyond the data center, though 93 percent said their ability to do so is limited.