Datacenter Trends

Avaya Launches Secure Framework for the 'Everywhere Datacenter'

When Avaya, a global provider of enterprise communications and collaboration systems, announced plans to file for Chapter 11 debt restructuring in January, the company's treasurer, John Sullivan, declared in a letter published on the Network World Web site that the move would, among other things, allow the company to continue its evolution into a software-and-services-led operation.

On the same day Avaya announced that it had actually filed, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company took another step in that evolution with the launch of a secure framework for what has been called the "Everywhere Datacenter."

The phrase (probably coined by Avaya) conceptualizes the impact on datacenter management of the cloud, Big Data, digital transformation, and the Internet of Things (IoT), all of which are generating new east-west traffic requirements as they draw compute resources out of the datacenter to the network's edge. It's costly and inefficient to send edge traffic back to the datacenter to pick up security and network services; adding dedicated appliances closer to the edge increases network complexity, cost, and risk.

Avaya's solution is to provide the necessary structure and control directly at the edge, utilizing "concepts that have been thoroughly proven in the datacenter while avoiding the need for numerous standalone appliances," the company said in a statement.

The new framework comprises the Avaya Pivot operating platform and the Avaya Arc orchestration engine. The platform makes it possible to deploy virtualized network functions (VNFs) anywhere in the network. The orchestration engine allows datacenter managers to chain these functions together automatically into full-featured services using centralized policy-based tools. The service chain elements, which Avaya calls pivot points, can be anything from a network operating system to network security services or analytical systems.

In a company brochure, Avaya described its vision for Pivot this way: "The Avaya Pivot operating platform does for the network what the hypervisor did for the data center: de-coupling and abstracting operating system from hardware, virtualizing networking, supporting additional advanced functionality, adding an orchestration capability, and empowering automation."

Although Avaya is emphasizing a transition to software and services, it also introduced a new piece of hardware to complement the Pivot and Arc releases. The company's new VSP 8600 Modular Switch is purpose-built hardware that incorporates an architecture with control processors on every interface card. When used in combination with the Pivot platform, the company said, the new switch can provide load balanced processing power to deliver network function virtualization (NFV). NFV is a network architecture that decouples network functions from dedicated hardware.

The new switch also provides security in the form of "differentiated hyper-segmentation," which makes it easier to isolate traffic from devices and apps. In other words, it automatically creates new segments for every device and/or endpoint. The result: every endpoint has its own fully isolated path to a specific application on a server, the company said.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].


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