Avaya Inc., headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, was spun off from Lucent Technologies, Inc. in October 2000. Going back further in Avaya's lineage, we find Lucent parents AT&T and Bell Telephone Laboratories, which includes a century-old history of circuit switching, but also rich heritage of research and patents in voice communication.
Given the "bell-shaped head" mantra that accompanied all of these corporate successions, Avaya has made a remarkable transition from the regulated, circuit switched-world to the unregulated data networking environments, and today is considered a major player in the VoIP arena. Avaya claims that more than 1 million businesses worldwide, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500 use Avaya solutions.
The firm employs approximately 19,000 people, including 2,500 research and development professionals, and has about 2,500 authorized or certified partners worldwide.
Avaya's flagship VoIP solution, IP Office, is a highly modular IP telephone system designed to meet the needs of home offices, standalone businesses, and networked branch and head offices for small and midsize businesses. The system can function as a traditional telephone system, or an IP telephony server, with support for both single locations and multi-site networks.
IP Office includes both basic call center and voice messaging capabilities, with the new Unified Messaging Service offering synchronization and efficient management of voicemail messages through a web browser interface. To date, Avaya claims there are over 120,000 IP Office systems deployed around the world with over four million users daily.
The network management complement to this system, Integrated Management for IP Office, runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, or Solaris 9 servers. This system provides a centrally controlled configuration scheme that is based on templates that cover the major functional aspects of IP Office:
- Hardware Templates contain all the hardware-based configuration records
- User Templates map the users and hunt groups to extensions
- Auto-Attendant Templates set up schedules and associate voice announcements
- General Templates contain other configuration information that can be defined centrally, such as directory, routing, account codes, and firewall settings
After deployment, the Network Management Console can be launched to provide detailed information on a specific site, or to administer data connectivity or site-specific parameters. The System Status Application allows system managers to understand what resources are being used and troubleshoot any issues in real-time (see Figure 1).
Key features of the system include:
- Bulk Provisioning: IP Office can be pre-staged and scheduled for bulk provisioning, plus ongoing configuration changes to hundreds of IP Office systems can be performed with a single operation.
- Bulk Distribution of Voice Files: imported voice files for auto-attendant announcements can be easily distributed to the embedded IP Office voice mail, which simplifies the creation and delivery of voice announcements in multi-site deployments.
- Single System View: includes a central network management console that enables IT managers to view the network topology, including connected and registered endpoints associated with each location. Also included is a search capability that allows for quick location of each station by user name, extension or IP address system.
- Centralized Firmware Monitoring: an easy process to detect and display firmware inventory, check the current version against the latest versions available, and schedule the download of firmware for immediate or deferred execution.
- Centralized Backup and Restore: backups of the systems are automatically stored anytime a configuration job is executed, and can also be performed on demand or scheduled on a recurring basis.
In addition to the in-house management solution, Avaya systems are also interoperable with some non-Avaya solutions. Integrating with Hewlett-Packard's Network Node Manager, HP OpenView can discover Avaya devices; receive alerts from Avaya devices and Integrated Management tools; add the Integrated Management applications to Network Node Manager menu, and then launch those applications from within Network Node Manager.
Through the HP Network Node Manager Smart plug-in for Avaya IP telephony, HP OpenView can provide an inventory of the Avaya VoIP solution, provide status indication of both the IP network and the IP telephony solution, provide real time graphical presentation of the actual path VoIP takes within the network, and integrate with Avaya VoIP monitoring capabilities to provide real time quality of service analysis.
In addition, Avaya's Integrated Management can operate co-resident with the Extreme Networks, Inc.'s EPICenter network management application on a common server platform to provide end-to-end converged management support. The integrated capabilities include joint device discovery, sharing of network inventory and status monitoring information, and the forwarding of alerts.
Further details on the Avaya architecture and products can be found at www.avaya.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors' network management architectures.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2008 DigiNet Corporation ®, All Rights Reserved
Mark A. Miller, P.E., is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.