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Avaya beefs up switch architecture

Avaya has rolled out extensions to its 4000 series switches and said its year-old virtualised networking architecture is taking hold in campuses and data centres. The new Ethernet Routing Switch (ERS) 4000 series switches are designed to help enterprises optimise networks for collaboration, and simplify the convergence of voice, video and data. One of the key new features of the line is a boost in stacking bandwidth from 320G to 384Gbps.

Along with the switches, Avaya rolled out new software that includes support for Power over Ethernet (PoE) and PoE+, among other features. The switches are compatible with Avaya’s Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA), a blueprint unveiled a year ago to allow users to optimise the network for business applications and services through virtualisation. VENA is a software enhancement that supports the emerging IEEE 802.1AQ Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) standard for deploying multiple active paths in a data centre switch fabric.

While SPB may not be going gangbusters, Avaya says components of VENA – such as switch clustering, “enhanced” Shortest Path Bridging, wireless networking, network access control, and network management – are being picked up by customers.
“Our long-term strategy is successful, and momentum continues to build up” for the architecture, says Jean Turgeon, global general manager for Avaya Networking. “Many customers have bought (Avaya switches) based on VENA. Customers like where we’re going and we have real deployments.”

VENA is competing with other network virtualisation and fabric architectures from  Cisco, Brocade, HP, Dell, IBM, Extreme, Enterasys, Alcatel-Lucent, and others. Though there’s less of a footprint for SPB specifically, Turgeon says the VENA message is resonating with customers.
“It’s our most successful strategy launch,” Turgeon says of VENA. “Today’s biggest pain point is around the data center and VM mobility. Done and delivered. And now we’re extending new services across the campus with the need for per-box provisioning.”

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