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Avaya's Missing Piece: Virtual Network Architecture

Introduced this week, the Avaya Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA) is intended to help address the growing demand for new content and business collaboration applications in and between data centers and campuses. The company says VENA helps reduce costs and improve service by improving network connections between application servers and end users, essentially providing an end-to-end connection from the desktop to the data center.

In support of the initiative, Avaya also announced partnerships with VMware (virtualization and cloud infrastructure) Qlogic (converged networking) Coraid (converged Ethernet SAN storage), and Silver Peak Systems (data center WAN optimization), as well as new members to its third-party developer initiative, the DevConnect program.

According to Bill Seifert, who was appointed chief technology officer for Avaya Data Solutions last month, this is the missing piece to the $900 million Nortel acquisition There's more here than just new boxes coming out of Nortel. "What was missing was the framework for these products, how they fit together and why should you care."

With VENA, Avaya can now offer a total solution, he says. "By and large we think we now have all the pieces to the puzzle for someone who is either going to upgrade their data center or build a new one."

Zeus Kerravala, senior vice president and distinguished research fellow, Yankee Group, says the announcement is good for Avaya and addresses any concerns about the merits of buying Nortel. "Nortel engineering has long been regarded as very good; much of what used to differentiate Nortel was their engineering." The problem was that they're weren't considered as a data center vendor like Brocade or Cisco. "This is a good proof point... that Avaya does have an eye on more than just the voice portion of the network."

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