Avaya Surge addresses IoT management – on anyone’s network

Avaya Surge is an upgrade of a solution formerly for the health care sector, except that now it will run on any network, not just Avaya's.

LAS VEGAS – At their Avaya Engage event here today, Avaya announced Avaya Surge, a new Internet of Things security and management solution designed to simply manage the Internet of Things.

Surge is not technically a new solution. It existed previously as SDN Fx Healthcare. This is more than a rebranding however, as the solution has been upgraded significantly.

“Surge has been built from the ground up to address the management of the Internet of Things,” said Marc Randall, SVP and GM of Networking at Avaya. “It has an Open Network Adapter (ONA) that solves our identity problem. It acts like a proxy for a device that can’t be identified. Once this device is connected, it pairs and you can identify the device. You can then start to add intelligence and security to the device through this ONA.”

The ONA device is complemented by the IoT controller.

“The ONA is a big piece of the content but not the only thing,” Randall said. “The brains of the system is the IOT controller. It assigns a device in profile. It monitors activity, and analyzes flows.”

Surge uses HyperSec zoning to create encrypted zones and allow Surge to isolate and filter traffic from device to destination. Traffic flows are filtered on a white-list basis, limiting what the device receives and sends and to who or what it communicates. Surge then uses centrally-set, “Follow-me” profiles applied on a by-device basis. When disconnected from the network, profiles disappear. When re-connected, profiles are automatically re-assigned.

“We now have programmable capabilities on the ONA,” said JT Turgeon, Avaya’s VP and Chief Technologist, SDN. “Now you can customize to provide connectivity and security of IoT devices that require secure connections. It’s not just medical devices, but oil and gas, robots and others. It reduces hacking risk because we leverage elasticity and hyper-segmentation. It’s a key component that allows us to play across all verticals.”

Surge also automatically learns and updates from traffic flows, providing continuous, ongoing security improvement. It also reports asset utilization that details the operational activity of devices.

“Through this technology, Surge provides location services,” Randall said. “There are analytics you can do, such as learning how the device is being used. You can find out if you even need to acquire more devices when you see how much usage you are getting with existing gear.”

A major plus of Surge is that it will run on any vendor’s network.

After telling the obligatory joke to the customer audience at Engage, that the way to acquire Surge if you don’t already have an Avaya network is to spend a million dollars ripping out the gear you have and put Avaya in, Randall told the customers that what differentiates Surge is its interoperability with other vendors.

“This is such a unique solution that we spent a lot of time making it so it will support any vendor’s network,” he said. “This will run on any network and support any vertical. It makes it very easy to deploy use and monitor IoT environments.”

This interoperability is a key breakthrough in Surge, compared with the older product.

“Avaya had this before, just for healthcare with SDN Fx Healthcare,” said Zeus Kerravala, Founder and Principal Analyst at ZK Research. “But you had to have an Avaya network before to use it.”

Kerravala said that Avaya had also successfully addressed the issue of getting IoT profile information from devices from other industries.

“There is a challenge in other verticals, in that healthcare has done a really good job of identifying devices,” he said. “Other industries have a lot of older devices that aren’t as well identified. However, the ability to monitor devices allows Surge to assess even ones that don’t have profile information. They can protect those as well.”

Avaya Surge will be available through Avaya Channel Partners in the second quarter of 2017.

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