In addition, the Avaya architecture includes the Fabric Orchestrator, an SDN controller that manages and orchestrates the Ethernet fabric and offers SDN control to north- and southbound interfaces. In addition, the appliance supports such open-source efforts as the OpenFlow SDN protocol, OpenDaylight Project SDN controller and OpenStack cloud orchestration platform.
Avaya also is offering a new capability in its Fabric Connect software called Fabric Extend that enables organizations to bring the fabric to data centers, campuses and branches without having to rip out the existing networking infrastructure, allowing customers to protect their investments.
"We also understand that companies are unlikely to rip out their existing network—even the most frustrated among you will probably stop short of that," Avaya's Randall wrote. "So, we've made it possible to add SDN Fx to those existing networks with a new capability built into Fabric Connect that will enable it to extend across any IP-based network without loss of functionality."
The company's Cross said Avaya's heritage in unified communications helped inform its efforts to build an easy-to-use SDN architecture that is more user-centric than those of competitors.
"Enterprises don't just comprise applications, but comprise applications and people," he said.
Avaya's SDN efforts come at a time of transition for the networking space, which is quickly evolving away from proprietary hardware and software to a more open, software-based environment that includes networking vendors, companies like VMware that saw SDN and network-functions virtualization (NFV) as a way to expand their data center solutions to include the network, smaller startups and white-box makers that build low-cost commodity gear that the networking software can run on.
SDN promises to be a booming market. IDC analysts last year predicted that the space will grow from $960 million in 2014 to more than $8 billion by 2018.
"SDN is taking center stage among innovative approaches to some of the networking challenges brought about by the rise of the 3rd Platform, particularly virtualization and cloud computing," Rohit Mehra, vice president of network infrastructure at IDC, said in as statement at the time. "With SDN's growing traction in the datacenter for cloud deployments, enterprise IT is beginning to see the value in potentially extending SDN to the WAN and into the campus to meet the demand for more agile approaches to network architecture, provisioning, and operations."