Avaya Pulls in Two Nominations for "Best of Interop" Award

“It’s an honor just being nominated.”

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How many times leading up to a prominent awards ceremony–whether it be the Oscars or the Grammys–do you hear that statement?

As we enter this year’s Interop Las Vegas event, I am going to be bolder and say that we are honored to be nominated–not once, but twice–for the Best of Interop award. But we really want to win!

Avaya was shortlisted in the Networking category with a new feature called Fabric Attach, and in the Security category, with our Identity Engines product.

In this blog post, I am going to focus on Fabric Attach, a feature many of you may not be familiar with yet. At the highest level, Fabric Attach extends the benefits of the Avaya Fabric Connect architecture (based on an enhanced implementation of IEEE 802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging) to non-fabric-enabled devices and end points. It automates the identification and provisioning of edge devices or end points (phones, APs, cameras) that connect into the fabric.

So what’s the value? It really comes down to faster onboarding of users and devices with less chance of error. In a recent Avaya press release that looked at network downtime, it was found that 82% of companies experience network downtime as a result of errors when making network changes.

More dramatically, change-induced network downtime can have serious career-limiting consequences, with 20% of businesses acknowledging dismissals. By combining Fabric Attach’s “zero touch” edge provisioning, and device onboarding with the ability to “set and forget” your Fabric Connect core, the risk of downtime is dramatically reduced.

Even more importantly, the network engineer’s job suddenly becomes less burdensome with less manual provisioning and network firefighting. They can now devote their time to activities more strategic in nature.

Avaya Fabric Attach

To attach non-Fabric Connect-enabled Ethernet switches to a Fabric Connect network, it’s as easy as taking the switch out of the box and plugging it into a Fabric Connect-enabled edge switch, so that it can automatically configure itself with fabric-based services that have already been pre-configured in the fabric core.

Fabric Attach also allows for “zero touch” onboarding of end points. This is where our lessons learned from Sochi come into play. If you have been following Avaya and our role in the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, you’ll remember that it was one of the largest BYOD/guest environments in the world.

One of the challenges we faced was providing services for 40,000 different users, all connecting simultaneously, the day of the Opening Ceremonies. Identity Engines played a critical role in authenticating the devices and then dynamically assigning them to the correct VLAN based on the credentials.

That VLAN was then assigned to the correct virtualized network. What we are doing is taking this concept one step further and dynamically attaching the end point directly into the virtualized network. It’s basically adding a policy to Identity Engines that allows the network to create the VLAN (or SSID if its wireless), create the virtualized network (or I-SID if you are familiar with SPB) and map the VLAN/SSID to the virtualized network (or I-SID) all without user intervention.

This capability would have even further simplified things for the Sochi team, especially considering that we had to plan for 120,000 wireless devices connecting at peak periods such as the Opening and Closing ceremonies.

Avaya Fabric Connect

So although the Interop judges have some tough decisions to make as to who they select as their winner, we are honored to be nominated, and we still want to win!

In my next post, we’ll talk about Identity Engines and why this product is getting attention from the Interop judges.

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