Avaya Unveils Framework for Software-Defined Data Centers

The framework, based on OpenStack and Avaya’s Fabric Connect technology, is the company’s first step in its SDN efforts.

Avaya is taking its first steps into the crowded software-defined networking space with a data center orchestration and automation framework that will be based on the OpenStack platform and the company’s own Fabric Connect technology.

Avaya officials will demonstrate the company’s Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) framework at the upcoming VMworld 2013 show, which runs Aug. 25-29 in San Francisco.

The SDDC framework, unveiled Aug. 21, is designed to enable organizations to more easily and automatically deploy and manage the compute, storage and networking resources in their data center environments, creating a five-step process that will reduce from months to minutes the amount of time it takes to spin out a new application, according to Avaya officials.

By leveraging OpenStack, the open cloud computing platform, data center administrators will be able to use a single graphical user interface to do everything from deploying virtual machines to assigning storage to configuring networks. Avaya’s SDDC framework includes the company’s OpenStack Horizon-based Management Platform, with orchestration capabilities for compute (Nova, the project name for OpenStack Compute, a cloud computing fabric controller), storage (Cinder and Swift, project names for block and object storage) and networking through Avaya’s Fabric Connect (Neutron, the OpenStack project name for networking-as-a-service).

Avaya’s Fabric Connect, a network provisioning technology the company rolled out in April, offers a more dynamic, scalable and flexible networking environment that is a key part of any software-defined data center, according to company officials. The solution can connect pools of data center resources both inside and between data centers.

Avaya also is using open APIs into the Fabric Connect architecture to enable integration and interoperability with other software-defined networking (SDN) offerings.

“Avaya continues to innovate the way that networks are designed, built and operated, leveraging the unique capabilities of our Fabric Connect technology,” Marc Randall, senior vice president and general manager of Avaya Networking, said in a statement. “This announcement demonstrates that enterprises can immediately realize the operational benefits of real-time orchestration and automation.”

Those benefits range from more simple mobility for virtual machines and a more streamlined process for deploying applications to scale-out connectivity and improved network flexibility.

Avaya officials said the SDDC framework is the first step in the company’s SDN strategy, and noted that its Fabric Connect is available in a growing number of Avaya networking offerings, including the Virtual Service Platform 9000, Ethernet Routing Switch 8800 and Virtual Services Platform 7000.

SDN continues to be the most talked-about technology in the networking space, promising to bring greater flexibility, scalability and programmability to networks by moving most of the network intelligence out of the underlying physical infrastructure and into software-based controllers. Established networking companies like Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks are aggressively pursuing SDN strategies, and a growing number of startups also are introducing solutions around not only the connectivity layer but also the networking applications that run on top of it.

Currently the hype around SDN is outrunning actual implementations, but IDC analysts believe it will grow into a $3.7 billion market by 2016, while Transparency Market Research said in a report Aug. 21 that it will be $3.5 billion by 2018.

SDN, combined with the ongoing virtualization of the server and storage components, is creating visions of software-defined data centers that are highly automated, dynamic, scalable and flexible. Most recently, Intel executives at a daylong conference last month outlined their vision of data centers that are dynamic rather than static and automated rather than manual, and where applications can automatically draw the resources they need from a pool, and return those resources to the pool once they’re done.