Avaya Takes Home Top Gartner Recognition in Networking

What do smartphones, pollution monitors, traffic lights and door locks have in common?  They’re all now “connected” –among the more than 25 billion “things” that will connect to the Internet by 2020.

For hospitals, IoT devices might be Internet-connected heart rate monitors and medical sensors. For schools, IoT devices might be mobile devices that students bring into the classroom or surveillance cameras. For company, IoT devices might be “smart” ventilation systems, structural integrity monitors and lighting systems. Nearly every industry today relies on Internet-connected devices — and will rely on them even more in the future.

Are you ready for the Internet of Things? Or more accurately, is your network ready?

The honest answer, for most companies, is no. Legacy networks struggle with today’s demands, and the needs of tomorrow haven’t even emerged yet!

Too many traditional networks are plagued by complexity. They take a long time to provision, manage and troubleshoot. New applications take weeks, if not months, to roll out. The impact of IoT is most likely going to cripple them.

So what can businesses do to prepare their networks for current and future demands?

A good place to start is the recently published 2015 Gartner Critical Capabilities for Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure report. Gartner defines “critical capabilities” as attributes that differentiate products and services in a class, in terms of their quality and performance.

Gartner analysts scored Avaya in the top quartile for five out of six use cases, and ranked the company No. 3 out of 14 vendors in the Enterprise Unified Wired and WLAN Access and SMB and/or Mall or Remote Branch Office Use Case categories.

What sets Avaya apart?

Avaya technology drives a streamlined, automated network that eliminates complexity by allowing “things” to easily, automatically and securely connect at the network edge.

The strength of our Unified Access solution was critical to the improved Gartner ranking. As referenced in the report, the Unified Access solution enables management, policy enforcement, guest management and security across multivendor networks. It’s supported by our Fabric architecture to provide automated network and device provisioning at remote and branch offices.

The solution tightly integrates our wired switches and management and control solutions with wireless hardware and technology, delivering a solution that can significantly ease Wi-Fi deployment and accelerate time-to-service for applications.

Gartner believes organizations can benefit from unified Wired/WLAN access layer solutions as they result in improved provisioning, orchestration and management, reduced OPEX, faster onboarding and consistent policy enforcement. And given the number of wired and wireless “things” making their way onto our networks, Unified Access solutions will become imperative moving forward.

The coming IoT world holds great promise. Now is the time to ask yourselves whether your current solution can meet your future needs. For more information, read the Gartner report.

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Data Center Automation: Why Are We Still Sending Humans to Do a Machine's Job?

Robots are on the rise. One forecaster, the Freedonia Group, predicts that the use of robots in manufacturing globally will grow nearly 11 percent annually for the next three years. Robots are growing 15 percent in the U.S., says Freedonia, and 17 percent in China.

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photo credit: avramc via photopin cc

What do robots have to do with the Data Center? Well, in the same way the manufacturing sector has transitioned from a manual, human-driven industry to one that is automated and controlled by intelligent machines, the Data Center is poised to go through a similar transformation (albeit without the mechanical arms).

(This is a guest post by Camille Campbell, a senior product marketing manager at Avaya Networking).

The Software-Defined Data Center is a new paradigm in application delivery in which compute, storage and networking components are virtualized and delivered as a service. Software will be able to intelligently combine, customize, and commission resources from the server, storage and networking pools to ensure that applications remain available and responsive. This takes us humans, with our slow, expensive and error-prone ways, out of the equation.  

(Read this Q&A with Avaya Networking’s Chief Architect Paul Unbehagen to learn more).

Deploying applications are not easy today. A series of independent provisioning tasks must occur across different silos. Virtual machines, server adapters, storage partitions and network appliances must all be provisioned and then interconnected to build an end-to-end service. This is typically done across different management systems requiring coordinated effort across multiple teams. No wonder it typically takes weeks or even longer – and why – according to a Gartner 2012 whitepaper – 40% of IT operational expenses (OPEX) go towards labor! 

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Additionally, components within Data Centers have evolved at different rates. Some are virtualized. Some are not. Also, networks lag behind servers and storage in power and ease of use. Turning on network services still requires painstaking, error-prone provisioning processes.   

Avaya is addressing the evolution to the Software-Defined Data Center through a combination of its Fabric Connect technology (based on enhanced Shortest Path Bridging) and OpenStack cloud orchestration software. A project co-founded by NASA and Rackspace, OpenStack enables companies to build cloud-based networks by providing a control layer that sits above the compute, networking and storage devices in the data center. This enables IT managers to easily control those resources as a service through a set of APIs and a common dashboard. Turning on applications becomes simple and automated. Avaya Fabric Connect enhances the current OpenStack environment by eliminating the constraints of traditional Ethernet to bring more design flexibility, agility and scale to networks.

 

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Provisioning Virtual LANs on a port is a great example of a task we should leave up to machines! And with Avaya Fabric Connect, provisioning VLANs through the core of your network is completely eliminated. Services are deployed at the edge only – and you can even automate that provisioning through intelligent systems like OpenStack (Avaya joined the OpenStack consortium in May). You also have much better scale (16 million services as opposed to 4,000) and the freedom to move VMs anywhere that you need them to go whether it’s across the data center or across the country. And even automate the network and storage provisioning to follow the VMs as they migrate across and between Data Centers.

Update: Here is a screenshot of the Management Suite we have built with OpenStack integration. This specific shot shows the creation of an Avaya Aura virtual machine running over an Avaya Fabric Connect virtualized Layer 2 service. As the Virtual Machine is created, we can automate the provisioning of the network service through Fabric Connect integration into the Neutron module of OpenStack.

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What does automation mean for the network engineers performing these tasks today? Liberation from today’s drudgery and menial tasks! This gives them time to focus on moving the business forward. Rather than trying to troubleshoot an issue across three separate teams, or configuring Spanning Tree Groups device by device across the network, IT can engineer better applications or roll out new ones that enhance productivity or maximize efficiency. Plan for the future. The possibilities are endless. 

Granted, we won’t see the likes of WALL-E in our Data Centers anytime soon. However, there will be intelligent software systems – virtual robots – making the job of changing and turning up new services a whole lot easier and a whole lot faster. 

Learn more about Avaya’s Software Defined Data Center Framework:  

SDDC Whitepaper from ZK Research:  The Software-Defined Data Center as Key to IT-as-a-Service

Packet Pushers Podcast: Software Defined Data Center and Fabric Connect

Software Defined Data Center on avaya.com

Avaya Fabric Connect video 

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Camille Campbell is a Senior Product Marketing Manager within the Avaya Networking Business Unit, focusing on Network and Data Center Virtualization.  She has over 10 years of experience in different networking technologies and has held a variety of sales and marketing roles throughout her career.

Avaya Takes the Top Again in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure

It’s a great honor to be recognized as a leader in your market for the year, and even more of one to get to say it 13 consecutive years in a row. We’re proud to announce that Avaya has been positioned in the Leader’s Quadrant in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure for 2013, making the company the only entrant that has been listed in this section since the inception of the Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure in 2001.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the report, the annual Gartner Leaders Quadrant covers vendors that provide equipment, software and services to operate contact centers for customer, employee and service support, including outbound telemarketing, helpdesks and other structured communications operations.

For the past 13 years, Avaya has focused on innovating its end-to-end contact center portfolio to deliver a holistic experience and assistance for consumers to streamline effort and effectiveness. Since the 2012 Magic Quadrant, we’ve added in new additions for Performance Management to help refine workforce management tools, not to mention other services like the new Avaya Customer Experience Virtualized Environment and Avaya Outbound Contact Express.

On the topic of leadership, last month we released the results of a customer effort survey that highlighted how the amount of work a customer exerts to obtain service affects business priorities of revenue and market growth, brand loyalty and operational margins. The survey reinforces our understanding that direct experience is one of the leading factors to a person’s impression of a brand, and that building an easy, effortless service experience is key to keeping customers satisfied.

The survey also revealed that the more effort a customer has to put in to obtain what they are looking for, the more damaging it is for brands. In fact, 66 percent of customers said they’re likely to leave a company after high effort experience. Services like Avaya’s Contact Center solutions provide a solution for brands to keep customers satisfied – going the extra mile for customer service. As technology continues to shift and consumers are increasingly becoming more mobile, we’re creating new ways to deliver these types of services to customers, thus helping companies improve their customer service.

Visit Gartner’s page to read more about the report, and how Avaya’s Contact Center stands out against the crowd. We are incredibly proud and can’t wait to continue innovating the best customer service possible. You can view our press release here.