Avaya Opens Up Operating System For Approved Network Providers

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Avaya’s network OS can now be deployed to rival vendor’s hardware as part of branded ‘white box’ switching move

Networking firm Avaya has opened up its network operating system so it can be deployed on other vendor’s networking switches and routers.

But it has a proviso, namely that its networking OS will only run on “industry standard hardware for specialised solutions providers”.

Brite-Box Switching

These specialised providers include managed service providers, cloud service providers, systems integrators, and data centre hosting companies, and it allows them to apply their own brand to the Avaya network operating system software.

White box switching refers to the ability to use generic, off-the-shelf switching and routing hardware, in the forwarding plane of a software-defined network,” blogged Avaya’s Randy Cross. “White box switches are really just that – blank standard hardware.”

What Avaya is proposing is not white box switching, but rather what it calls “brite-box switching.”

HP“This is shorthand for branded white-box switching,” wrote Cross. “The key tenants of a brite-box switch are disaggregation (hardware and software/OS can be decoupled), reduced capital cost (i.e., white-box economics), commercial software (versus roll your own), and the option to receive service/support from a single supplier.”

Avaya believes this will benefit customers by giving them a proven network operating system, coupled with a white-box system which should help reduce capital costs, and enable organisation to customise their networking infrastructure suit their needs

Customers also gain access to Avaya’s end-to-end virtualisation capabilities and full network orchestration suite, as well as 24/7/365 technical support.

The first phase of Avaya’s networking disaggregation model rollout is targeted at high density data centre environments requiring platforms such as 64 port 40G or 32 port 100G.

ODM maker that have already signed up include Delta Networks from Taipei, Taiwan.

“The disaggregation market for switching has been confined to hyper-scale data centres that have a large expert programming staff,” said Liam Kiely, VP Avaya Networking. “With today’s news, Avaya is offering a high-value alternative with well-established software that’s been proven across millions of ports globally for nearly two decades. This is a disruptive move for Avaya that opens the door into markets where we haven’t sold to in the past.”

Open Compute

Avaya is best known for its unified communications and collaboration technologies, but entered the networking market with its acquisition of Nortel Networks’ enterprise business back in 2009.

Avaya of course is part of the Open Compute Project (OCP), which was launched by Facebook in April 2011 in order to develop and promote “vanity-free” hardware designs that are highly efficient.

These designs are then shared with the broader community. Since its launch, it has gathered some big name backers including Microsoft, Dell, Intel and HP, amongst many others.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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