Avaya extends VENA to the campus

Jean Turgeon Avaya

Avaya Data Solutions GM Jean Turgeon

Avaya has extended its Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA), announced late last year in the data centre, to the campus level with a software update for its Ethernet Routing Switch (ERS) 8800 and 8600 family of switches.

Jean Turgeon, global general manager for Avaya Data Solutions, called the expansion of VENA to the campus network “the latest disruption” to come out of the company’s still-growing data networking business.

“When we launched the architecture, we told the market we’d starting bringing simplicity to the network,” Turgeon said. “Phase one was focused on the data centre, now it’s time to extend onto the campus.”

In fact, optimizing the network for virtualized environments is one of the key fields of innovation in the core networking business across the board right now, with Cisco offering its FabricPath architecture in the space, while Brocade’s Brocade One strategy also fits into the same space.

By enabling virtualization throughout the network, VENA at the campus level promises to ease some of the load on the data centre and to allow a number of network-based applications to live closer to the edge of the network without having to go back to the data centre. Avaya sees that as among its differentiators in the space.

The software upgrade (7.1) for the company’s ERS line is free for customers who are on maintenance agreements, but Turgeon said partners will have ample opportunities around the product – not the least of which is an easier experience in setting up corporate guest networks, multi-tenant network environments and test scenarios through the VENA infrastructure.

“VENA is complex form a protocol standpoint, but its simplicity from a configuration standpoint is mind-boggling,” he said.

Add to that a “huge opportunity” to do upgrades to networking environments powered by the VENA message. Turgeon said Avaya will continue to train partners “to leverage VENA as a way to solve problems in the data centre, address business problems and give customers the agility they’re looking for.”

“There’s a tremendous revenue opportunity within the existing install base,” Turgeon said.

Because it’s expanding its focus from a straight-up data centre play to a network-wide positioning for VENA, Turgeon said the company sees the architecture reaching a broader set of solution providers, something he said will help to grow the momentum behind VENA.

Turgeon said that next up for VENA would be extending the virtualization technology into the closest and closer to the edge of the network. He hinted that the company has partnerships in the works to enable the technology on video cameras and other edge technologies, and that announcements of those products would be forthcoming over the next few months.

“We’re creating still more disruption in the market, pushing the envelope and bringing simplicity to the campus,” Turgeon said. “We expect to see reactions from our competitors.”

Turgeon may not have to wait long. CRN is reporting that networking rival Juniper Networks is slated to debut “the world’s first true data center fabric” at a press event on Wednesday, likely the debut of its long-awaited Project Stratus.