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New Avaya Aura Software Licensing

We're seeing increased use of virtualization, license entitlements bundled with other license procurements, and the maturation of the roadmap to integrate Nortel products into the Avaya portfolio.

It's been quite a year for Avaya. Nortel + Avaya coming together. Todd Abbott departs with Joel Hackney taking his place (no comment). Employees also continued their second year of mandatory furloughs (of 5 to 15 days) to reduce expenses and improve the numbers before FYE on September 30. That said, CEO Kevin Kennedy has promised that this is their last year of furloughs.

And July 20, Avaya announced a number of new and enhanced products for their Avaya Aura portfolio. Leadership, cost cutting, and technology continue to change albeit for very different reasons and with different results.

In this week's column, I'll refrain from commenting on Hackney and the furloughs. Instead, let’'s look at what's new with Avaya software licensing as a result of the Avaya Aura 6.0 announcements last month. I hope you find the new release information as interesting as I did.

Avaya Aura Software Licensing: A Three Phase Strategy
To date, Avaya has executed three phases of their strategic plan to simplify their software licensing and product offers.

* Phase I focused on tactical changes to improve product marketing with limited-time offers and re-packaging of existing products. For example, with Phase I, Avaya did things like reducing Modular Messaging licenses 40%; Communication Manager software support reduced 55%; and creating UC "All Inclusive" licensing bundles with UC mobile, desktop and portal clients for Standard Edition ($60/license) and Enterprise Edition (no charge entitlement license).

They also redesigned the S8730 and subsequent servers with processor Ethernet connectivity to G450 or G430 to eliminate CLAN and reduce G650 hardware costs. All are necessary steps to motivate customers to buy the latest technology.

* Phase II represented a major step toward simplifying Avaya's software licensing model. The principal change being the replacement of its 9-tier "transactional framework" with a 3-tier model for its core enterprise products--Communication Manager, Call Center Elite, and Call Management System (CMS)--and only 1-tier for all other products.

They also released virtualization support, called System Platform, for Avaya Aura midsize platform (2,400 users) with Communication Manager, Communication Manager Messaging, Application Enablement Services, Media Processing and SIP Enablement Services on a single server. Modular Messaging 5.2.1 with MAS, MSS, Web Client/Subscriber Options (WSO), and Secure Access Link are also virtualized on a single server using System Platform.

* Phase III was wrapped in to the July 2010 Aura product announcement. With this last phase, I'd say that Bruce Mazza (Director, UC Solutions Marketing) and the Avaya product teams have done much to make Avaya's licensing model better and simpler as they intended. Not an easy task given the manifold distractions/complexities of merging Nortel and Avaya product portfolios in to the Aura mix (e.g., Agile Communications Environment/ACE) which I'm sure was NOT part of the original plan for Phase III.

Aura 6.0 + Phase III Licensing Improvements
With a focus on software, some of the key enhancements made with Aura 6.0 include:

* Avaya Aura Conferencing 6.0 Standard Edition--Conferencing 6.0 Standard Edition replaces Meeting Exchange Express and Expanded Meet-Me Conferencing. With Conferencing 6.0 Standard Edition, the solution is designed to support audio and web conferencing for 500 concurrent users (about 7,500 employees) with a feature set that was previously only available in the Meeting Exchange Enterprise solution. The system includes a web portal for end-user conferencing management and real-time controls, meeting reservation and reporting capabilities, and web-based management tools: all virtualized on a single server. Additionally, UC integrations are supported with IBM Lotus Notes/Sametime, Microsoft Outlook/OCS/LiveMeeting, Adobe Connect web conferencing and Avaya one-X. Note that Meeting Exchange Enterprise 5.2 remains the conferencing solution available for customers that need higher scale (to 4,000 simultaneous audio sessions per system and 1,000 web conferences per server). With the next major version, scheduled for release next year, the Meeting Exchange Enterprise product will take on the Avaya Aura Conferencing (Enterprise Edition) nomenclature to align with the newly released Conferencing Standard Edition. With the new version, Avaya Aura Conferencing Enterprise Edition will also use System Platform virtualization on a single server.

To fuel technology adoption, Avaya is including, at no additional cost, one port license (US$ list price $600) of Avaya Aura Conferencing Standard Edition for every 50 Avaya Aura Enterprise Edition users purchased.

* Avaya Aura Session Border Controller--Avaya is partnering with Acme Packet to provide a software-only solution deployed with System Platform on S8800 (and managed by System Manager). The initial offer is capable of supporting 750 SIP trunk sessions (or approximately 5,000 employees). List license cost is $200 per simultaneous session.

* Avaya Aura Upgrade licenses--3 tiers to 1, same pricing for any release. Good news here. Previously, the software upgrade license price depended on how many versions behind the current release your system software was. If you were more than one release behind the current release (N-1) the license price was about 20% higher than if you were within one release.

And there were three tiers depending on the number of licenses. Then you needed to know if you had Standard or Enterprise Edition. They had 12 different SKUs for upgrade licenses.

With this product release, Avaya has created a single license for upgrades regardless of how many releases behind the current release you may be. They've also eliminated the three tiers. All you do is determine if the upgrade is for Standard or Enterprise CM and number of user licenses. The Global List Price for Standard Upgrade is $42/user and Enterprise $58/user, about 20% of a new license.

Call Center Elite upgrade pricing is even easier. Avaya went from six options to one. Now, just count the number of agents, with estimated cost per agent approximately 35% of a new license.

So today, Avaya has only two upgrade options and budgeting costs is considerably easier.

* Per User Advanced Survivability Licenses--Standard Local Survivability (SLS) is still included with Avaya G430 and G450 gateways at no additional cost. However, for customers requiring advanced survivability, they can use Enterprise Survivable Servers (ESS) for Core survivability and Local Survivable Processor (LSP) for remote survivability.

The list license cost for Advanced Survivability is $25/user when using Avaya Aura Standard Edition. With Avaya Aura Enterprise Edition, these capabilities are already included in the enterprise user license.

For more details on the Aura 6.0 product release, see the following link:

License Price Examples
For reference, the following table summarizes software license list pricing examples. Note that all costs are in US dollars and all licenses are perpetual with one-time Right-to-Use fees.

Wrap up
What we're seeing and can expect to see more of is increased use of virtualization, license entitlements bundled with other license procurements (a la Avaya Aura Conferencing Standard Edition), and the maturation of their roadmap to integrate the Nortel CS 1000, CallPilot, and Contact Center platforms with Aura. The market is seeing is some interesting technology and partnerships coming out of Avaya. All of that coupled with a simpler, more competitive software licensing model makes the Avaya "story" all the more interesting.

Now if they can just figure out how to get their direct business and channel partners working together to better tell their story and execute.

Up next, I'm going to look at Session Border Controller software licensing, and then other offerings:

* Session Border Controllers (Acme Packet, Cisco, Dialogic, and Ingate)
* Mitel Communications Director
* Avaya Agile Communications Environment (ACE)

Until next time, all the best.