“Thinking Small” Earns Avaya Network Innovation Award

The networking world often comes down to a battle of big boxes. Big boxes, at times, are needed to address legitimate throughput constraints; at other times, they’re needed to cover up network inefficiencies. Seldom do the journalists who cover the networking industry praise a company for thinking small.

But that’s exactly what the writers at SearchSDN have done, awarding Avaya with their Network Innovation Award. At the center of the award is Avaya’s pocket-sized Open Networking Adapter (ONA)—announced in February and named one of the “Hottest Products at Interop.”

“The ONA represents one of the earliest SDN-IoT integration efforts,” writes SearchSDN’s Alissa Irei. “Via automated provisioning, the device… turn(s) the Ethernet-equipped endpoint into an intelligent ‘network node.”

It’s the “pocket-sized intelligent network node concept,” I believe, that caught the attention of the SearchSDN staff. From an IoT perspective, this is where it really becomes interesting. Prior to the ONA, connecting thousands of devices securely was burdensome, if not impossible.

Now, any device, regardless of manufacturer or type of product, can join thousands of devices and intelligently and securely participate in a centrally-controlled network scheme. The possibilities in many verticals are numerous. Hint: think diagnostic devices in healthcare, manufacturing devices, utilities, kiosks, and slot machines.

SearchSDN announced the award with the following headline: “Avaya’s ONA Appliance Marries SDN, IoT.”

Now I can’t resist: I thought it funny that the ONA is playing matchmaker. You can imagine the metaphorical dinnertime drama:

[Setup] Mr. and Mrs. SDN are so proud of their daughter. She holds so much promise: Simple configuration, programmable control, open interfaces—she’s destined for data center greatness.

[Now the drama] “Mom, Dad, guess who I am bringing home for dinner? His name is IoT. Well, his full name is Internet of Things. We were set up by ONA: You know, the new guy on campus.”

“Oh! But he’s not from the data center,” decries Mr. SDN. “We never imagined such a thing… what good can come from this?”

Ok, I digress; the headline distracted me.

The takeaway of the article is really that ONA is making matches that previously had been unthought-of. SDN capabilities to date have mostly been confined to the data center. In my humble opinion, the real excitement for the future lies in the campus. So, don’t miss reading the end of the SearchSDN article, where Avaya Senior Product Director Randy Cross talks about the future of the ONA.

Drama doesn’t get better than this…

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