Avaya Adds to VENA Virtualization Effort with Switch, Software

Avaya at Interop will be showing its new VSP 7000 switch and Virtual Provisioning Service software, part of the company's larger VENA initiative.

Avaya is adding to its larger data center virtualization strategy with a number of new products, including a new top-of-rack switch, management offerings and services.

Avaya will showcase these new offerings at the Interop 2011 show, which kicks off May 8 in Las Vegas.

The products and services will add to Avaya's VENA (Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture), which the company introduced in November 2011 and which is designed to simplify the operations of data centers as they become more virtualized and extend to branch offices and other remote locations, according to Bill Siefert, CTO of Avaya's data solutions portfolio.

The drivers in the data center are the growing adoption of cloud computing and virtualization technologies, and the increasing mobility of workers and their devices, Siefert said in an interview with eWEEK.

"That's been the recipe for essentially where the network has been heading, where it's working all the time, and it's got to be something you can control with fewer people," he said.

The Avaya VSP (Virtual Services Platform) 7000 is a 24-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch that can scale up to 40GbE and 100GbE, and also supports native Fibre Channel for storage connectivity. The device is designed to make data centers less complex, easier to manage and more cost effective, according to Avaya officials. It also will support a multi-terabit fabric interconnect stack, switch clustering, Virtual Services Fabric-Avaya's network fabric, enabled by the Shortest Path Bridging standard-Edge Virtual Bridging for facilitating communication between virtual and physical switches, and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet).

Avaya's VPS (Virtual Provisioning Service) is virtual management software within the VENA offering that helps IT professionals better track and manage, provision and troubleshoot their virtual machine environment, Siefert said. The software can work with VMware's VCenter management tool, he said. If something changes in the virtual machine environment, VPS can be notified by VCenter and then create new configurations for the impacted virtual machines to adapt to the changes.

"It automates the processes and increases reliability," Siefert said.

Avaya also is offering a suite of professional services designed to help businesses more easily bring Avaya's VENA technology into their environment.

The company gained the technology for the VENA strategy through its $915 million acquisition of Nortel Networks' enterprise business, which included Nortel's switching and routers business as well as its unified communications products. At the time of the deal-which Avaya completed in December 2009-analysts said they saw Nortel's communications portfolio as the real gem in the acquisition.

Avaya had been in the switching and router business, but analysts were unsure whether it would keep that part of Nortel's product line.

VENA is designed to give businesses a complete networking architecture that stretches from the desktop to the data center, with the Virtual Services Fabric being the basis.