Avaya's Aura Unified Communications system is going virtual.
Avaya announced new virtualization options for Aura last week, extending the UC system beyond the confines of physical hardware appliances. Aura is now available in the VMware-ready OVA format and can run on VMware's vSphere 5.0 virtualization platform.
Tac Berry, product marketing manager, Collaboration Platforms at Avaya explained to EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet that his company is now testing support for vSphere 5.1which was recently updated by VMware. As to why Avaya is just now providing Aura as VMware appliance, it has to do with virtualization maturity.
"We weren't sure that the virtualized environment was ready two years ago to handle the scale and performance level that we wanted to support," Berry said. "VMware has now become a more realistic application platform so we now feel confident we can provide the same performance in the virtual world."
Berry stressed that Avaya is still offering hardware based Aura appliances as well. He added that Avaya doesn't expect its sales force to sell virtualization either.
"The people that sales will be calling on, understand virtualization and they understand why the data center is being virtualized," Berry said. "Virtualization is not what we have to sell, we have to sell Avaya Aura real time communications."
From a performance perspective, Berry said that Aura UC running on VMware can provide an equivalent level of performance as a physical appliance. Avaya is providing users with guidance on what the hardware requirements for virtualization should be, to achieve that comparable level of performance.
From a licensing perspective, Berry explained that the same model of Aura on hardware applies to Aura on virtualized infrastructure.
"Once you have installed Aura, it's Avaya Aura," Berry said. "Since we're not providing hardware with the virtualized solution, we are actually not charging for the software applications."
Berry explained that an enterprise can simply download the Aura OVA file for free. He added that as the enterprise adds users, features and capabilities to the Aura installation that's where the licensing costs come in.