Avaya, VMware Partner on Hybrid Cloud Communications Services

The SaaS offering will combine Avaya's collaboration solutions with VMware's vCloud Air cloud computing platform.

cloud communications

Avaya is using VMware's hybrid cloud technology as the foundation of its hybrid cloud services for enterprise communications.

Called Avaya Hybrid Engagement as a Service, the solution will enable Avaya and its channel partners to deliver enterprise-level communications and engagement services to customers via a mix of public and private clouds, or even cloud and on-premises infrastructures. The services will be hosted on VMware's vCloud Air, a cloud computing platform the virtualization technology vendor introduced in August 2014.

VMware officials envision vCloud Air competing with cloud computing offerings from the likes of Microsoft, Google and Amazon. The company has dedicated nine data centers worldwide for the effort, with at least two more in the works.

Avaya is looking to leverage the cloud to give customers new ways of receiving and deploying communications and engagement services, according to Joe Manuele, vice president and global SI/SP of alliances and the cloud for the vendor.

"This new set of cloud services from Avaya provides additional flexibility and cost efficiency to enterprise customers who want to take advantage of a public cloud model for our customer and team engagement solutions," Manuele said in a statement, adding that Avaya and VMware are combining cloud-based unified communications (UC) and contact center applications with broad public cloud platform.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering, announced Jan. 28, will enable businesses to make the migration to a public cloud model on their own time while protecting the investments they've already made in their on-premises infrastructures, according to Avaya officials. At the same time, customers also will be able to run a mixed environment of public and private clouds and on-premises products, they said.

The Hybrid Engagement as a Service solution will be available through Avaya's channel partners, according to the company.

Like other vendors in the competitive communications and collaboration space, Avaya is aggressively moving to the cloud. Businesses that are dealing with such trends as an increasingly mobile workforce and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) are looking for solutions that enable employees to collaborate regardless of where they are or what device—including smartphones, tablets and notebooks—they're using.

Analysts at Markets and Research said in a recent report that the global UC market will hit $75.8 billion by 2020, and that it will continue to shift from on-premises systems—which in 2013 made up more than 60 percent of the space—to cloud-based solutions, which are less expensive to deploy and maintain.

In August 2014, Avaya and Hewlett-Packard announced a partnership to deliver cloud-based services around UC, contact centers and infrastructure modernization to enterprises. The partnership combines Avaya's communications technologies with HP's cloud capabilities, and also includes HP delivering UC and contact center services from Avaya via its Helion cloud platform.

Avaya also is reaching out to other vendors for alliances to help the company extend the reach of its collaboration solutions. The HP partnership illustrated that effort, as did its agreement with Google announced last month to partner on an effort to integrate communications and contact center applications into workflows.

Avaya is responding quickly to customer demand for cloud-based solutions, according to Sheila McGee-Smith, founder of McGee-Smith Analytics.

"A year ago, Avaya's cloud strategy seemed to center on managed services contracts," McGee-Smith wrote in a post on the No Jitter blog. "The recent announcements with VMware and Google—with more promised soon—highlighted not only enterprise customer appetite for cloud solutions but Avaya's attempt to quickly develop a portfolio of solutions that will keep Avaya customers [in the fold]."