What's Avaya's Aura Virtualization Roadmap?

Tac Berry is a senior product marketing manager at Avaya, with 3 decades of experience in marketing and business development in the voice and data communications industry. I spoke to Tac at the Avaya Evolutions San Francisco show earlier this week about the strong customer uptake in virtualizing their Avaya Aura unified communications applications on VMware, as well as our roadmap for VMware compatibility. Below is a transcript of our conversation:

tac berry pic cropped

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

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Fletch: We previously talked, I think it was around VMWorld last year, about the effort to provide customers Avaya Aura and other applications on a VMWare as they completely virtualize that deployment model. How’s that  going?

Berry: So far the response has been very positive. To date we have more than 1,200 installations of Avaya applications on customer-provided VMWare architecture. This includes the Avaya Aura core applications, like Communications Manager and Session Manager, as well as multiple Call Center Elite applications like Elite Multichannel and Experience portals.

Fletch: That sounds pretty positive. Do all customers see benefits when they do this?

Berry: Yeah, they all do. Existing Avaya customers see the immediate reduction in their total cost of ownership for their systems. Where they just want to add on some applications like AES or session manager or CMS, or want to upgrade to the latest release of Avaya Aura, they’re telling us that moving to a virtualized architecture saves them money, time, service cost, all the key savings that will maybe contribute to their bottom line.

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Read in-depth about one of our Aura-on-VMware customers, Forest City Enterprises.

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And even new systems see this deployment option as a real step forward when contemplating to move to expanding their collaboration. By being able to integrate the Avaya applications within their existing IT data infrastructure, their existing data network, the typical gains in enterprise is already recognized in virtualizing the data applications are now extended, to the integration of real time collaboration. They get to replace their existing telephony solution with an industry-leading architecture for full collaboration, while minimizing the total cost of the solution with reduced hardware reduced energy and reduced maintenance cost. So existing customers, or even new customers all see virtualization as a real positive move forward when they’re ready to get serious about an Avaya collaboration solution.

Fletch: Yeah, but Tac, what about the solution roadmap? What’s going to happen next, ’cause that’s really where the rubber meets the road for people.

Berry: Well, you know road map is important. And it’s important from our point of view ’cause we want to make sure our customers and our partners see this isn’t a one-time thing for us. We see this as an ongoing strategy for future products and solutions. Even Brett Shockley this morning mentioned at Evolutions that Avaya understands our customers recognize virtualization as a key technology for their future. And we need to continually support this technology so it’ll be simpler for customers to integrate into existing systems that make adding new solutions less costly with shorter installation times and overall provide a more efficient architecture for the next generation. And virtualization for Avaya covers the complete stack as we like to say. Jean Turgeon mentioned this in this talk on Sochi Olympics just this morning about the network, that Avaya sees virtualization in the network fabric as key for the next generation of seamless, highly-efficient data connectivity. And of course Avaya from the product side sees virtualization of collaboration features as key for the future integration of true unified collaboration.

As an update, you probably know that the new development interface, Collaboration Environment, is available as a VMWare compatible OVA file. So it integrates easily with any virtualized customer environment. We just released a virtualized version of IP Office, and we’re about to announce virtualized versions of Avaya Aura Messaging and Communication Manager Messaging. So, these have all been key asks by existing customers, so that when they move to a completely virtualized Avaya Aura architecture, they have all the pieces they need. And then later this year, we’ll also introduce a virtualized deployment option for Avaya Aura conferencing. And then even more virtualized options for Call Center Elite, as well as Avaya Aura Contact Center. I don’t think there’s a development project within the enterprise collaboration business area that is not considering virtualization now as the key building block for what they do in the future.

Fletch: You know I’ve seen Avaya support virtualization for the future across a lot of different things, and it makes it all seem very real to me, and I’m sure the customers are going to see the value as well.

Berry: Absolutely. It is real and it is important. When we talked to our business partners and our end customers we want to make sure they understand how important virtualization as a deployment solution for our applications can be. It should be offered to every existing customer as an alternative moving forward. It needs to be part of their future considerations of how and when to advance their Avaya Aura release level.

We want it to be an important part of their decision process to expand their network. And it’s critical for them to include virtualization as a key incentive when they see the need for more mobility or video collaboration. Virtualization we understand is the key for the next generation of private networks. It is the reason for the next generation of hybrid and cloud networks. Virtualization offers the most economical solution for incorporating an Avaya real time application, and to any customer environment. With Avaya offering the most flexible and open solutions for use and collaboration, our customers are going to have the most flexible deployment options combined with the most complete set of collaboration features in the market.