Avaya ACE: Hey, Look What We Found!
When Avaya bought Nortel, they got a middleware platform that improves integration, especially in networks with multiple vendors' systems. So is the cost/benefit worth it for your enterprise?
Flashback to Avaya's webcast in December 2009 announcing the Nortel acquisition.
While details of the event are a bit fuzzy, one thing in particular stood out for me. As Avaya executives were boasting about the newly acquired Nortel (and rightfully so), it seemed like they had just figured out that they had acquired a new portfolio of powerful technology in the deal; especially Nortel's Agile Communication Environment (ACE).
It was strange thinking that this deal was worth almost $1B and it seemed as if Avaya hadn't fully vetted Nortel's products until after the deal was done. It was like buying a house and then finding a suitcase full of cash in the attic, except in this case it's a compelling software application that enables a broad range of automated UC business processes across mixed vendor infrastructures--not just Nortel or Avaya customers.
So, the question is; how do you realize the potential of this newfound asset and not squander your good fortune?
What is Avaya Agile Communication Environment (ACE)?
While this column isn't a technical review of Avaya Agile Communication Environment (ACE), it may be helpful to level set a bit first. Borrowing from Avaya's literature, Avaya ACE is about Integration (in multi-vendor environments), Applications (either pre-packaged and custom), and Automation (Communication Enabled Business Processes).
In short, Avaya ACE is an open software platform designed for building multi-vendor Unified Communications (UC) and Communications Enabled Business Process (CEBP) applications with Avaya and other common applications such as:
* Microsoft Outlook, Office Communications Server 2007, Internet Explorer
* Cisco UCM 6.0/7.0, Tandberg Videoconferencing Server
* IBM Lotus Notes and Sametime
And of course, since Avaya ACE was developed by Nortel, it is fully compatible with Avaya’s (formerly Nortel's) Communication Server 1000 platform.
Architecturally, Avaya ACE is an open software-based middleware solution sitting between the business application and network communication layers. The application layer comprises the set of SOA-based web services available for business software integration.
The network communications layer includes a wide range of Avaya and multi-vendor communications servers and systems, with Avaya ACE integrating with the network communications layer via open and vendor-proprietary adapters. Avaya provides both a developer toolkit for simple custom application development as well as numerous pre-packaged applications with the Avaya ACE platform.
Avaya ACE base software is supported on either Linux or Windows operating system and runs on the following hardware/server platforms:
* HP ProLiant DL 360 G7 (Microsoft OS deployments only)
* IBM xSeries x3550 (Linux or Windows)
Avaya provisions only the HP Proliant servers. A company can implement Avaya ACE on its own servers if the platforms meet or exceed Avaya-specified minimum technical server specifications. For installations requiring high-availability (e.g., 1+1 resiliency), two identical Avaya ACE server platforms are required (IBM 3550 servers for Avaya ACE on Linux and IBM 3550 or HP ProLiant DL360 G7 servers for Windows).
The final core component of Avaya ACE is Application Integration Engine (AIE). AIE software provides a single point of access for Avaya ACE packaged applications and hosts Avaya ACE packaged applications and supporting software components. AIE also exposes Avaya ACE Web services through simple APIs built on REpresentational State Transfer (REST) design principles.