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Avaya will introduce its first line of SDN-enabled Ethernet switches designed to complement its Open SDN Fx architecture at Interop in Las Vegas next week.
The new ERS 5900 series will extend SDN outside of the data center and closer to the edge of the network. This will help enterprises unify their wired and wireless network access to better support the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) systems and devices.
IoT activity has landed primarily within the manufacturing and transportation industries. According to research firm IDC, however, all industries will roll out IoT initiatives within the next five years. By 2018, 40% of IoT-created data will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close to or at the edge of the network.
"The unique SDN approach from Avaya is that they talk about SDN in the context of the entire enterprise, not just the data center," said ZK Research analyst Zeus Kerravala.
The stackable ERS 5900 series are optimized with Avaya Fabric Connect, the vendor's implementation of the Shortest Path Bridging standard. This makes Avaya's SDN approach different from competitors like Cisco and HP because it eliminates the need for an SDN controller. Rather, the controller functions are embedded into Avaya's Ethernet switches as software.
While a controller-less SDN approach can save enterprises money, the real benefit is on the operational side, Kerravala said. "IT can provision services at the edge, and not have to touch every box along the way," he said.
In addition to the ERS 5900 series, Avaya's legacy switching products can be a part of the Open SDN Fx architecture through software updates, said Jean Turgeon, vice president and chief technologist for software-defined architecture at Avaya.
The new switches come in 24-port and 48-port versions that support Power over Ethernet (PoE) and PoE+, as well as extended PoE capabilities up to 60 watts per port. This feature will allow ERS 5900 switches to be especially useful for enabling services at the edge of the network, including IoT systems like intelligent lighting and video surveillance systems, Turgeon said.
"Customers will be able to grow with these switches to meet their business needs," he said.
The ERS 5900 series also supports the Media Access Control Security standard, which ensures secure communication for all traffic on Ethernet links for point-to-point encryption and authentication, Turgeon said.
At Interop, Avaya will be showing a smart lighting demo enabled by the Avaya SDN Fx architecture.
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