Top 10 Networking Myths

This Avaya CONNECTED Blog
is also available as an MP3 Audio File


Whether your building out a corporate network, or a brand new ESINet for Public Safety, you need to understand networking, and there are some common myths that will leave you with a poor deployment and huge amounts of capitol investment rusting away in the data center while you try to figure out how to save your career.

10)Cisco continues to be the undisputed leader in networking innovation

It is time to stop living in the 90’s, while I won’t spend time to argue that statement, it is time to look at technology and where the market is heading TODAY. I hate to answer a question with questions, but let me ask:

  • Q: Who was first in delivering Resilient Stacking technology?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who changed the resiliency model from Active/Standby to Active/Active?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who introduced Split-Plane technology first to market?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who introduced hardware based 20ms resiliency?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered end to end Ethernet Fabric technology AND drove its standardization with IEEE/IETF?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered the most scalable 2 Tier Data Center architecture with lower latency?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered Layer 2 and Layer 3 Virtual Services Networks with its Ethernet Fabric Technology?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered innovative, scalable, resilient and fast registration for Multicast applications?
  • A: AVAYA
Myth 10

Remember, Innovation does NOT EQUATE TO acquisition, so exactly who is the Innovator and who is the follower?

9)Juniper seems to be the logical alternative to Cisco

Due to the unfortunate situation with Nortel Enterprise, many customers and partners were given no choice but to consider alternative vendors. While it’s clear Avaya has heavily invested in Networking, is Juniper still a logical alternative to Cisco? To me at least, it seems their QFABRIC Data Center strategy was a failure, now it’s based on SDN promises?

It’s time for customers to look back at Avaya’s portfolio and the technological maturity it brings from the heritage of Wellfleet, Synoptics, Bay Networks and Nortel. The technology train never stopped, and they are in the lead for Campus and Fabric architecture…time to reconsider Avaya? Yes indeed as Avaya solves REAL IT CHALLENGES TODAY and is in a unique position for many quarters to come…

8)There’s no different between proprietary and standards-based Fabric solutions

While some may think proprietary Fabric Architecture is ok for the Data Center, aren’t we living in an open system architecture world where best of breed technology should be selected?
How will you extend or leverage your Ethernet Fabric if it is proprietary? The world knows better and there happens to be an IEEE and IETF standard out there, known as SPB (Shortest Path Bridging) or if you prefer IEEE 802.1aq or IETF RFC 6329.

Inter-operabiltiy with other vendors has already been proved and the recent flawless performance of the Core at InterNet 2013 in Las Vegas, demonstrates the maturity and stability of this technology. Avaya is leading, time to look at solving your IT challenges once and for all

7)Wecannot eliminate Spanning Tree

Do people use a bus to try winning a Formula 1 race?

Do people fly airplanes with one of the two engines on standby?

None of this seems logical, does it?

So why is it customers tolerate building a network infrastructure utilizing a protocol that wasn’t built to deliver resiliency?

The market has clearly endorsed Active/Active as the defacto design model now, and it is time for customers to stop accepting sub-optimal solutions for their network and ensure failures won’t be business impacting. Avaya has 12+ years of maturity implementing Active/Active resiliency, and while other vendors are trying to catch up, Avaya keeps moving the dial further ahead, and maintains its position as the undisputed leader of Active/Active resiliency.

6)MPLS is the solution to all of our problems

Customers that wanted to deploy a multi-tenant and multi-services business solution, had no other choice but to eventually consider MPLS as the solution in order to provide Layer 2 and Layer 3 virtualization.

While that might be powerful and scalable, its level of complexity just made it extremely difficult for IT departments to retain the skill set required to build and maintain it.

What if there was, today, an alternative provide Layer 2 and Layer 3 Virtualization for both unicast and multicast based services? What if MPLS level scalability was achievable without its associated level of complexity?

What if that same solution gave you network behavior flexibility too, so you no longer have to guess how the network is behaving? What if Avaya was once again in the lead, helping you solve these challenges

5)Deploying services must involve weeks of planning and hours of implementation

Today it takes hours, weeks, months of preparation to deploy a new service across your Enterprise. Why? Simply because of the level of complexity associated with extending a service using existing legacy technology such as VLANs’ to extend such services. This translates into nodal configuration, which despite the qualification of your IT staff, requires proper planning and change management control. There is so much business risk associated with such a deployment, nobody will take a chance on doing it without proper testing and configuration validation.

What if you could, today, provision end to end services, but only have to touch the edge of your network?
Basically provision where the service is to be used, and where its being offered and VOILA, you are done. Let the network SERVICE your application needs.

4)Equipment maintenance and upgrade must be business-impacting

“Sorry Folks! Park’s Closed. The moose out front should have told ya’.”

Myth5.jpgIn the past most applications ran in a non-geo redundant or even in a single data center non-resilient deployment model. Now, you can easily deploy every application in an active/active model and woouldn’t it be even more powerful if you take advantage of various hypervisors virtualization solutions?
The combination of Virtualization, applications running in an Active/Active deployment model, as well as having a Data Center architecture that can extend Layer 2 domains where you need to, gives you the utmost flexibility and agility that your IT staff, and more importantly, your applications were looking for, and needed. Well, you don’t have to wait anymore, it’s here….

3)Multicast is becoming mandatory, but it’s complex, unreliable, and doesn’t scale

Everyone has been suffering through Multicast deployments over the last 15 to 20 years. The level of complexity and limited scalability, often gave no choice but to limit its utilization and size of deployment to known logical limits that did not meet the business needs.

What if you could finally scale multicast to new levels, while also addressing the design complexity?

What if you could no longer have to say “NO” when you are requested to deploy a multicast based application because your multicast network scalability is already saturated?

What if you didn’t have to build a separate infrastructure because the one you have is running at maximum capacity and scalability for multicast?

What if you didn’t have to force usage of unicast anymore? Or, what if you didn’t have application failures or business impacting situations due to the lethargic, slow recovery of multicast applications?

Well, there is a solution to your challenges, It’s called Native Multicast over SPB, and it comes to the rescue to deliver a never-before achieved level of scalability, while delivering 500 milliseconds recovery and 100ms or less registration, and delivering all this without the need for PIM!
That is innovation at its best, while still supporting inter-connectivity to PIM domains.

2)Avaya is a Voice company and doesn’t bring anything to Networking

While Avaya continues to be a leader in Unified Communications, Contact Center and Video conferencing, it is important to note its level of competiveness in the Networking area. Not only do they provide cost effective Ethernet connectivity with or without PoE, they also led the way by solving some complex IT challenges such as E911 location reporting, regardless of the mode of connectivity being used (wired and wireless).

While Avaya has a very strong Voice heritage, it also understands the networking requirement and has focused on delivering best in class innovative solutions which customers and partners need to pay special attention too.
Avaya is about innovative Real Time Collaborations, UC, CC, Video and highly reliable and scalable network.

From Data Center edge all the way to your Branch Edge, Avaya can help you solve these challenges TODAY using industry standard protocols and best practices. How many other competitors can say that? Let me help you out with that one. . . .

Pick a number between ZERO and NONE.

1)The future is all aboutSDN, so you have to wait….

SDN Is gaining momentum in the market, it is like a Tsunami hitting all the IT personnel trying to understand if this is the technology that will finally solve their IT challenges?

While SDN seems to focus on solving relevant IT problems, the question is more “What IT problems is the industry trying to solve, more importantly, what are YOUR business IT challenges”.

What if Avaya was able to solve these problems for you, TODAY with products, solutions, protocols, etc..that exist NOW in an open system architecture that does not require the wait for some new SDN Protocol to be supported by ALL vendors?

What if Avaya endorsed the SDN concept in addressing key IT business challenges?

What if Avaya offered Orchestration and simplification of Applications Provisioning today?

And more importantly….would you be interested in chatting with one of our Experts?

Avaya continues to innovate, but more importantly, Avaya can solve real IT challenges today by changing the way Networks are being built, without waiting for all sorts of promises to be delivered in the next few years. Giving Avaya an opportunity to show you what we can do TODAY, will be a worth while investment, and we promise not to disappoint you.

Related Articles:

3 CX Stats That May Change How You Think About Digital Transformation

Technologies like Artificial Intelligence, automation, big data, and the Internet of Things have made digital transformation an absolute necessity for organizations. With people, processes, services and things more dynamically connected than ever, companies are feeling relentless pressure to digitize, simplify, and integrate their organizational structures to remain competitive.

But there’s a big hole in the fabric of most digital transformation (DX) plans: the customer experience (CX). The problem isn’t that companies fail to understand the importance of the CX in relation to digital transformation. Rather, most fail to understand their customers well enough to envision a truly customer-centric, digitally-transformed environment. Just consider that 55% of companies cite “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as their primary driver of digital change. Yet, the number one challenge facing executives today is understanding customer behavior and impact.

A massive part of digital transformation involves building a CX strategy, and yet customer centricity remains a top challenge for most. In fact, I encourage you to be your own customer within your organization. Walk in your customers’ shoes, contact your organization as your customers would. What was your web experience? Was the expert knowledgeable during a chat conversation? How well did the mobile app work for you? Did you have a connected experience? Given your experience, how brand-loyal would you be to your organization?

Here are three statistics that will get you rethinking your CX strategy in relation to digital transformation:

  1. 52% of companies don’t share customer intelligence outside of the contact center. In other words, over half of companies are limiting the customer journey to the contact center even though it naturally takes place across multiple key areas of business (i.e., sales, marketing, HR, billing). Businesses must ensure customers are placed with the right resource at the right time, whether it’s in a contact center or non-contact center environment. The key is being able to openly share customer data across all teams, processes and customer touchpoints.
  2. 60% of digital analytics investments will be spent on customer journey analytics by 2018. Customer journey analytics—the process of measuring the end-to-end customer journey across the entire organization—is critical in today’s smart, digital world. Companies are rapidly investing in this area to identify opportunities for process improvement, digitization, automation and, ultimately, competitive differentiation.
  3. 60% of customers change their contact channel depending on where they are and what they’re doing. This means organizations must focus less on service and more on contextual and situational awareness. Businesses must work to create a seamless experience—regardless of device, channel, location or time—supported by customer, business and situational context captured across all touchpoints.

The CX should influence every company’s digital transformation story. For more tips, insights, and impactful statistics check out our eBook, Fundamentals of Digital Transformation. Let me know what you think. We look forward to hearing from you.

What It Takes to Be a Technology Leader in an Evolving Digital World

The definition of a leader varies greatly, especially in business. From my perspective a leader is defined by their ability to pivot and adapt to the evolution of a market. Like many companies today, Avaya, its customers and partners are riding the often daunting—yet consistently exciting—wave of digital transformation of the enterprise. As a technology leader, Avaya is not only pivoting and adapting to this new environment for itself, but pivoting and adapting our services and solutions to enable its customers and partners to thrive during their own transformations.

Unlike many of our competitors, digital transformation is something we saw coming years ago. We recognized right away that it wasn’t a passing fad but something that could truly transform how business gets done, with communications playing the most important role. We knew that for us to be successful, we would need to focus on transforming ourselves first so that our customers and partners could learn and benefit from our experiences, our lessons learned. During our own transformation, we gained that extra insight that we were able to leverage in the development of truly transformational solutions and services.

As we drove our own multi-year transformation, we also maintained our global market share leadership position in Contact Center. According to Canalys research, we hold more than 34% of the market, which is almost greater than the No. 2 and No. 3 competitors combined. No technology leader gets to claim this size of market share without making its customers a priority.

Last month for example, we hosted a private event in New York as part of our Future of Communication Experience series. The purpose was to update and inform specially invited customers about our portfolio roadmap and vision. We encouraged them to come with questions and to be prepared to have real, in-depth conversations about the challenges they’re facing during their own transformations. As always, it was a great experience for the customers and Avayans in attendance. Overall, customers from world-leading payment brands, to high-end retail chains, to players in the automotive industry said that they are very optimistic, confident and excited about what we have to offer today and what we have planned for the future. And next month we will be in Mexico City for our twelfth consecutive year with 3,000 Avaya customers and partners from all over the Americas. This is the largest customer and partner event we do all year.

In particular, two of the solutions our customers are most excited about are Avaya Oceana™ omnichannel contact center and Avaya Breeze™ development platform. These same solutions were recently touted as visionary by a global analyst firm as part of its latest Magic Quadrant ranking.

Avaya Oceana, which was launched last year, adds advanced multi-channel functionality to our own contact center solutions, such as Avaya Aura® Call Center Elite voice platform and Avaya Aura® Contact Center. It also integrates with third-party automatic call distribution solutions, as well as offering advanced reporting and customer journey mapping capabilities through Avaya Oceanalytics™ insights. Specifically, we have been told by analysts that Oceana’s new approach to routing—which is attribute matching so that it includes data consideration and customer journey mapping—is something our competitors simply can’t offer.

The Avaya Breeze platform, which Avaya Oceana was built upon, enables users to be flexible when responding to the ever-evolving digital marketplace. It has garnered industry recognition for its ability to enable developers to quickly create unique communications-enabled contact center applications and workflows for within and beyond the enterprise—with little or no development required and nearly instant deployment. We are seeing customers use Avaya Breeze to create unique applications tailored to their specific business and communications needs.

According to Irwin Lazar, Vice President and Service Director at Nemertes Research, “More than half of the companies are using or planning to use APIs to embed communications capabilities into their apps, while another 25% are looking at using them to build custom apps. Platforms like Avaya Breeze offer organizations the ability to deliver enhanced business value and execute on their digital strategies by integrating communications and collaboration into workflows, business processes and existing applications.”

These solutions are just the tip of the iceberg for Avaya. We are a long-standing industry standard with a significant global footprint. We are focused on continuing to expand and develop our solutions to meet the needs of our growing global customer base, with more than 5,400 patents awarded and pending, including foreign counterparts.

Our strong service provider and system integration partnerships around the world enable us to meet the needs of a wide variety of organizations, both large and midsize. We’ve received industry recognition for our strong Contact Center integration solutions.

Our continued strength in the industry is evident by our 300,000 customers worldwide. In fact, the top 10 largest banks worldwide are running Avaya solutions and 90% of Fortune 100 companies are Avaya customers.

At Avaya, we are re-imagining the industry, bringing visionary products and solutions to market, and enabling our customers to digitally transform their businesses with ease. I am excited and proud of our ability to continue to evolve, pivot and adapt to the changing business communications world. After all, that is the responsibility of a leader.

Let’s Talk about the Modern Business Ecosystem: Why We Need to Open Up

Forty years ago, technology vendors had it all figured out. They would differentiate themselves by continually bringing new proprietary solutions to market—a recipe for success in an age of a closed hardware dependent architecture. By exclusively building their own product portfolio under patent or trade-secret protection, companies could easily secure long-term revenue. This proprietary race fueled business for decades, and it still does today. Consider proprietary software solutions from Apple, which have licensing terms that limit usage to only Apple hardware (for example, Mac OS X).

A proprietary model offers several perks, yet not enough in today’s era of digital transformation. Intelligent, connected technologies like IoT, AI and machine learning have ushered enterprises into a new era of any-to-any communication, one filled with seemingly limitless collaboration and CX possibilities. As companies worked to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation, they came to realize that proprietary solutions stifled their efforts to grow and evolve, and they could no longer rely on one or multiple vendor or their life cycle timelines to develop the next-gen CX and/or vertical-specific services they needed.

A Big Change in a Small Amount of Time

Over the course of just a few short years, we saw a massive paradigm shift in which companies began seeking niche vendors to drive revenue and competitiveness. They turned to cloud-based businesses that were born in the digital era. They looked to startups that specialized in vertical-specific strategies. It wasn’t long before the average organization had created a unique, multi-vendor ecosystem in which various solutions were integrated to meet specific customer and vertical requirements. Case in point: the average business now leverages up to six different cloud solutions.

As every market filled with competing vendors, it seemed the most influential players were those that offered engaged, open ecosystems. These vendors allowed customers to freely modify original source code for virtually any purpose, versus retaining copyrights. With so many companies operating complex, multi-vendor ecosystems, open architecture that enabled collaborative app development became ideal for driving desired customer outcomes. We even see customers now acquire their own technology to accelerate the digitization of their business. You can’t do that in a proprietary and rigid architecture.

Multi-vendor Ecosystem vs. Open Ecosystem

This rise of niche vendors isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. In fact, Gartner predicts that startups will overtake leaders like Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft in markets like AI by 2019. If not properly supported, however, a multi-vendor environment can create infinitely more harm than good.

For starters, companies must secure their multi-vendor ecosystems. Research shows that the average organization’s network is accessed by 89 different vendors and partners per week, a number that should send chills down your spine from a security perspective. If that’s not shocking enough, one-third of companies admit they don’t know how many vendors access their systems at any given time. Despite this, over 70% believe their number of third-party vendors will increase by 2018.

In addition to this is the inherent challenge of seamlessly leveraging multiple different vendor solutions. You see, if these solutions aren’t properly integrated, they don’t represent a truly open ecosystem. To build targeted solutions that continually improve outcomes, companies must be able to seamlessly collect, track, share and use the data that exists across all vendor platforms and knowledge bases. None of these systems can be siloed from one another.

Consider the benefits of an open ecosystem within the transportation industry. Picture this scenario: administrators have taken notice that the 7:45 a.m. train fills up every morning to the point where passengers must wait for the next train. In a truly open ecosystem, management can leverage data collected across various integrated solutions (i.e., ticketing platforms, video surveillance systems, Wi-Fi/carrier grade services, mobile app systems, movement sensors, etc.) to identify the root cause of the issue and begin driving better customer outcomes. Data from the ticketing platform, for instance, may show that tickets purchased for 7:45 a.m. exceed the train’s maximum capacity by 15%.

At this point, management can leverage data in various ways to determine the best solution to the problem. For example, they may want to build a sophisticated level of automation to dynamically change the train schedule, monitoring it for continual improvement. They may choose to send automated SMS messages informing customers of anticipated congestion times and suggested alternatives for work travel while displaying updated information in real time on their digital signage systems. They could incentivize daily commuters by offering 15% off monthly passes if used for an earlier or later train time. Regardless of how the experience is enhanced, the entire technology ecosystem should be actively working together to make it happen. As I say, dealing with congestions on highways by constantly rebuilding the roads with more lanes is not exactly the smartest approach. Maximizing and optimizing its usage through smart traffic distribution and management can be proven to be way more effective while meeting the citizen’s experience.

The Future of the Customer Experience Relies on Open, Extensible Architecture

The more open a business ecosystem, the more seamlessly data can be leveraged to drive desired customer and citizen outcomes. The ability to track, collect and share data across dispersed systems is what allows companies to create custom solutions that target exact customer requirements. This open, extensible nature is vital within a next-generation platform.

Differentiating oneself is no longer as simple as rolling out a new proprietary solution. To drive desired outcomes and deliver true value, organizations must be open, agile, integrated and future proof. As the world continues transitioning to an open ecosystem, we become that much closer to eliminating a longstanding dependency on legacy hardware and hierarchal architecture.

So far, I’ve discussed four of five critical components that organizations must start looking at within a next-generation platform: next-gen IT, IoT, AI and open ecosystem. Up next, we’ll take a deep dive into the final and most significant of these: the customer (or citizens) experience. Stay tuned.