Avaya Software-Defined Data Center Framework and Roadmap Announced

By Peter Bernstein August 21, 2013

With tradeshow season upon us, Avaya felt this was an opportune time to articulate its architectural framework and views on the future of Software-Defined Networking (SDN). As part of a multi-phase approach to the ultimate goal of serving as the linchpin for the Software-Defined Enterprise, Avaya has focused attention on the transformation of enterprise data centers.

There is a lot to digest and much food for thought, as the SDN business itself is very much a work in progress. As Avaya notes in describing its Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) framework, it “aims to break down traditional data center silos that require weeks or months to turn up an application and replace it with a simple five-step process that takes minutes.” 


Image via Shutterstock

It is all about orchestration and automation

Randy Cross, director of data center virtualization and strategy at Avaya, shared a few thoughts with me about the announcement. He noted that, while much progress has been made in upgrading enterprise and service provider datacenters, “orchestration and network virtualization have been the last two pieces of the puzzle.” 

He added, “We are still at a formative stage in the development of SDNs where there are even differences in definitions as to what they are, and there are different orchestration solutions from a variety of sources. The goal of our announcement is to highlight how we are addressing making things easier for enterprise IT shops since much of the work on OpenStack has been service provider oriented as well as highlight how our Avaya Fabric Connect products already are providing enhancements to OpenStack environments that can be leverage today.”

This includes the ability to allow datacenter administrators to deploy virtual machines, assign storage and configure networks through a single GUI, and enhance the OpenStack environment by removing restrictions in traditional Ethernet VLAN / Spanning Tree-based networks enabling a more dynamic, flexible and scalable network services model than exists today.

Avaya SDDC framework components and benefits

The Avaya SDDC framework is based on the following components:

  • Avaya Fabric Connect technology as the virtual backbone to interconnect resource pools within and between data centers with increased flexibility and scale
  • An Avaya OpenStack Horizon-based Management Platform, delivering orchestration for compute (Nova), storage (Cinder/Swift) and network via Avaya Fabric Connect (Neutron)
  • Open APIs into the Avaya Fabric Connect architecture for ease of integration, customization and interoperability with other Software-Defined Networking architectures

As Avaya explains, the Avaya SDDC framework can ultimately provide enterprises the following benefits:

  • Reduced Time-to-Service: cloud services enabled in minutes through a five-step process
  • Simplified Virtual Machine Mobility: simple end-point provisioning enabling virtual machine mobility within and between geographically dispersed data centers
  • Multi-Vendor Orchestration: coordinated allocation of data center resources via a single interface to streamline the deployment of applications
  • Scale-out Connectivity: services scale to more than 16 million unique services, up from the limitation of 4000 in traditional Ethernet networks
  • Secure Multi-Tenancy: leveraging network, compute and storage layer abstraction and isolation
  • Improved Network Flexibility: overcomes current VLAN challenges to deliver a load-balanced, loop-free network where any logical topology can be built, independent of the physical layout

Randall, senior vice president and general manager of Avaya Networking, stated, “This announcement demonstrates that enterprises can immediately realize the operational benefits of real-time orchestration and automation.  While some remain hung-up on definitions of SDN and what it might to deliver in the future, Avaya is delivering tangible business benefits today.”

The context for this is interesting, given recent analyst observations about the reasons for various networking company’s cutting back their guidance on next quarter’s earnings is that IT department are busy evaluating new architectures. Avaya is sending a signal that because this is multi-phase, there is no reason to hesitate since solutions for many of the most pressing problems are already available.

This is exemplified by the comments of Wolfgang Boschert, head of security and LAN infrastructure, Fiducia IT AG, who said, “This is has the potential to be a game-changer for Fiducia.  Complex and rigid networking are at odds with the advances that are commonplace in compute and storage.  Fabric Connect’s real-time provisioning capability is a key differentiator and creates an opportunity to extend into innovative areas such as end-to-end orchestration and provisioning, which we believe are cornerstones of tomorrow’s automated data center.”

As noted, Avaya’s Software-Defined Data Center framework is the first phase of Avaya’s Software-Defined Networking roadmap.  Avaya Fabric Connect is available today on a wide range of networking platforms including:

  • Virtual Service Platform 9000
  • Ethernet Routing Switch 8800
  • Virtual Services Platform 7000
  • Virtual Services Platform 4000

The Avaya Horizon-based Management Platform and open APIs will be generally available next year.  Future initiatives include the extension of Fabric Connect and Orchestration to deliver end-to-end service creation and delivery from data center to desktop.

The puzzle pieces of orchestration and enabling working agility are not there yet, but as Avaya’s announcement of how users can leverage OpenStack environments today to meet many of their needs demonstrates, we are getting very close and there is a roadmap for moving ahead.




Edited by Alisen Downey
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