Avaya Unveils Changes Across Portfolio with Aura 6.0, Addresses Legacy Migration
Takeaway: Avaya makes a sweeping announcement with Aura 6.0, touching on all product categories with new or updated solutions that focus on new ways to collaborate and connect people in real-time, simply and cost-effectively. Avaya also meets its previously-announced goal to integrate the Nortel products and retire some Avaya and Nortel products; a transparent roadmap gives current customers with existing Avaya or Nortel deployments assurance in the form of a clear migration path toward forward-looking solutions. Among the new products for mid- to larger-size businesses are new contact center capabilities (Avaya Aura Contact Center, Workforce Optimization and Proactive Outreach Manager) and next generation collaborative applications (Avaya Aura Conferencing and Avaya Aura Messaging). Avaya also introduces a new version 6.0 of the enterprise-level Communication Manager software which now has several deployment options (see below) and which utilizes Session Manager for SIP routing (Session Manager replaces and enhances the earlier SIP Enablement Services or SES). At the same time, Avaya cleans up some of the legacy products, announcing discontinuance of the Nortel Norstar key system, the Avaya Partner ACS, and some earlier S8000 Servers. Read more below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on Avaya IP PBX systems and associated applications.
Avaya Aura 6.0, in very general terms, aims to increase security, scalability and flexibility and provide common management across components and applications. Avaya continues to fold in virtualization technology across platforms to consolidate IT infrastructure; Avaya reports savings on the order of 23 percent in capital and 33 percent in operating expenses, per a recent survey. The myriad of new solutions includes an update to Communication Manager, the enterprise IP telephony call processor that scales to 36,000 users, as well as some new and enhanced applications for contact center, messaging, conferencing and presence.
Avaya Aura Communication Manager 6.0 – What’s new?
- Avaya Aura Communication Manager can now be deployed in one of three ways: (1) the System Platform (a virtualized solution – see the TelecomTactics Insider July issue) or (2) a Centralized Feature Server (SIP stations only; uses Session Manager to combine Avaya and other vendor systems into a centrally managed network) or (3) an Evolution Server or traditional IP PBX deployment with support for mixed endpoints, including H.323, digital, analog endpoints that register with Communication Manager and SIP endpoints that register with Avaya’s Session Manager (in R6.0, Session Manager replaces the earlier SIP Enablement Services or SES).
- Avaya Aura Communication Manager R6.0 can run on one of three Avaya Linux-based servers: the S8300D Server, the S8510 Server and the latest S8800 Server (Simplex and Duplex versions) which has improved processing over earlier S8000 Servers and which is the base platform for other Avaya applications (i.e. the S8800 Server protects hardware investments going forward). Avaya has phased out earlier S8000 Servers, including the S8300C, S8400, S8500, S8720 and S8730, so R6.0 software is not available for these earlier servers. The S8510 Server was discontinued for new sales in February 2010, but can be upgraded to support Communication Manager R6.0. The S8800 Server Simplex is similar in scalability to the S8510 Server; the S8800 Server Duplex is similar in scalability to the S8730 Server.
- In terms of new telephone devices, Avaya has extended and improved the 9600 series with some new IP deskphones: 9608 (8-line), 9611G (3.5-inch color display, integrated gigabit and USB interface) and 9621G and 9641G with 4.3-inch color touchscreen, integrated gigabit, USB interface and wideband speaker. The original 1600 Series is no longer sold as of August 2010 in favor of localized versions (16xx-I) that incorporate an LCD with white backlight and wider language support. There are also two new digital phones with native administration: the 1408 for lighter telephone usage (similar to the Avaya 2410 digital phone), and the 1416 for receptionists, assistants and managers (similar to the Avaya 2420). As announced earlier this year, Avaya will continue to offer the Nortel 1100 and 1200 SIP phones since these can connect to Avaya Aura via the Session Manager.
On the application side, Avaya introduces the following:
- Avaya Aura Conferencing, the evolution of Avaya’s earlier Meeting Exchange, is now available in a Standard Edition with 500 audio and 500 Web ports with video capabilities on a single Avaya S8800 (IBM 3550 M2) server (500 concurrent users). As an open standards-based SIP solution, Avaya Aura Conferencing works with Avaya Aura Communication Manager, CS1000 (formerly from Nortel) and other third party systems that support SIP. An Enterprise Edition is coming later this year with higher capacity and added features such as internal operator assistance and emergency blast dialing.
- Avaya Aura Messaging R6.0, expected in August 2010, is Avaya’s next generation Linux-based multimedia messaging that provides unified messaging, but also a speech auto attendant, voice recognition, speech to text, “Reach Me” and “Notify Me” features, IMAP access to voice messaging, a browser application for user settings and a migration path for Octel users. The earlier Avaya Modular Messaging solution now runs on Avaya’s S8800 servers (as of November 2009) which will allow customers to retain this hardware when they move to Aura Messaging in the future (earlier S8730 servers are no longer sold as of February 2010).
- Avaya Aura Presence Services has a native instant messaging capability with federated presence for IBM Lotus Sametime and for instant messaging and presence across Microsoft, IBM, Avaya one-X Communicator, one-x Agent and Avaya 9600 SIP phones.
- Avaya Aura Contact Center (AACC) is the company’s next generation SIP-based customer service solution for the mid- size contact center environment. Avaya’s Call Center Elite application for larger voice call centers continues to be the core call center product and is upgraded with Release 6.0 which increases capacities across agents, skills, vectors and routing tables and includes Avaya Business Advocate as standard. In November 2010, Call Center Elite will be further enhanced with the new AACC multimedia contact center application that supports voice, e-mail, Web chat, and instant messaging (under 1,000 agents for Avaya Aura Communication Manager (5,000 agents in the next release) or 5,000 agents for Avaya CS1000). Agents will have two desktops at this time, one for voice and one for multimedia interactions, but by May 2011, Avaya will consolidate this to just a single agent desktop so that Call Center Elite and AACC become a single solution going forward. Avaya also introduces two new contact center solutions: Avaya Aura Workforce Optimization (People Scheduler pictured) and Avaya Proactive Outreach Manager (outbound notification campaigns). Avaya IQ 5.0 for reporting and analytics increases capacity to 15,000 concurrent agents and 900 simultaneous report users and adds new graphical views.
Within the broad Aura 6.0 update, Avaya introduces a new version of Avaya Agile Communication Environment (formerly from Nortel). ACE 2.2 adds the Event Response Manager application and a new developer toolkit. Avaya Aura “Session” Manager 6.0 now scales to 100,000 users with 50,000 SIP phones and video endpoints. Avaya Aura ‘System’ Manager 6.0 enables common management across Avaya Aura, including Presence Services, Conferencing and Messaging applications. And, Avaya Aura Session Border Controller, based on ACME Packet technology, is the first Avaya-branded SBC.
For former Nortel customers, Avaya is on schedule with an update for the former Nortel Communication Server 1000 (CS1000), releasing R7.0 software and support for the IPv6 protocol and enhanced SIP functionality that allows a smooth migration toward Avaya Aura. The new Avaya Aura Contact Center will support CS1000 directly or via SIP integration to Aura. Nortel 1100 and 1200 SIP phones also connect to Avaya Aura.
All new Aura solutions are available now or will be available by third quarter 2010. At the same time, Avaya cleans up some of the legacy telephone systems. Nortel Norstar key telephone systems are no longer sold as of October 2010, with hardware and software support available until 2013 and services support until 2016. Avaya recommends migration to Avaya IP Office or Avaya BCM (formerly from Nortel). The Norstar retirement, including Norstar 3x8, CICS, MICS and Call Pilot 100/150 products, is earlier than originally anticipated due to components becoming obsolete. Avaya PARTNER ACS key telephone system will not be available for new sales after November 2010, but will be supported until 2013. PARTNER ACS systems can also migrate to Avaya's IP Office. In fact, the latest release of IP Office (6.0) supports PARTNER ACS telephones and the System SD CARD PARTNER which allows the IP Office 500 to emulate the PARTNER ACS. This solution, called IP Office Essential Edition - PARTNER Version, provides most of the PARTNER ACS R8 feature set, but also integrates IP Office Essential Edition functionality such as Mobile Twinning, Visual Voice Mail, 64-party conferencing, SIP Trunking and PRI/T1 support.
Sandra M. Gustavsen, senior analyst for T3i Group, contributes her TelecomTactics column to unified communications. To read more of Sandra’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf