Avaya Rolls Out Aura-VMware Virtualization
A significant step in the migration of communications toward the datacenter.
In what should represent a significant development in enterprise communications architectures, Avaya has gone GA with a key move that they previewed earlier this year, announcing that its Aura platform and applications are now available for deployment in VMware virtualization environments.
The move is “something our customer base has been looking forward to for some time," Avaya's Mark Monday told me earlier this week, since virtualization promises major efficiencies and therefore cost savings in large communications deployments where, in the past, a proliferation of physical servers has been the rule. The VMware piece is critical because VMware is the leading virtualization platform, deployed in 94% of Fortune 1000 corporations.
Indeed, as noted at the link above, Avaya previewed this move back in August, unveiling the VMWare integration and offering analysts like Sheila McGee-Smith a peek at one piece of the offering they officially announced today: The UC Collaboration Pod, which packages VMware software, virtualized servers and Aura applications, pre-installed along with networking and storage hardware in a turnkey solution.
But for enterprises that have had previous generations of Aura applications deployed on physical servers, today's announcement marks the likely beginning of a migration to virtualized communications applications. These enterprises will find communications applications migrating into the datacenter, to run on on VMware virtual machines deployed on physical servers that also host the enterprise's other critical and now-virtualized applications.
Here's the basic schematic for the Aura virtualization:
Each Aura application would get its own virtual machine (VM on the schematic). Each virtual machine can support 6,000 users, so you'd need multiple virtual machines as you scale above that number. As the enterprise migrates more of its communications into the virtualized environment, or as that environment grows organically, they can add hardware capacity and move applications around on virtual machines to accommodate the changes more efficiently, with no disruption to service or even interruption to in-progress calls during the transition, Monday noted.
“This is huge, because they don’t lose any of the uptime and they can continue to invest in the hardware they already have,” rather than needing to deploy new physical assets, he said.
The VMware-enabled release will also let Avaya partners more efficiently offer Aura as a hosted service, Monday noted. He added that the new release, Aura 6.2, does not support multi-tenant deployment, so that an enterprise using a hosted service based on Aura 6.2 would be assured that it's not sharing virtual machines with other customers. Multitenant will be a feature in an unspecified upcoming release, Monday said.
Current customers on Aura 4.x or 5.x releases can get the 6.2 upgrade and start virtualizing by upgrading their licenses. In keeping with existing structures, pricing is on a per-user basis; there's no separate charge for the virtualized Aura applications software.
The 6.2 virtualized Aura suite has actually been GA for a month, since November 5, though the announcement was made this morning.