Avaya has announced two new products, Pivot and Arc, that enable virtualized networking functions (VNFs) for campus and edge computing environments. Avaya announced the products even as it works through bankruptcy proceedings and a possible acquisition.
Pivot, which is shipping now, is a Linux-based software package designed for x86 servers. Pivot will run virtualized network functions, such as firewalls and load balancers, within VMs on a server. Pivot includes a Linux OS, KVM, and Open vSwitch.
Avaya says it will support its own applications, such as the VSP OS and its HyperSec gateway, as well as third-party applications for firewalls, IPSs, load balancing, encryption, WAN optimization, and so on.
At present, Avaya hasn’t announced official support for any third-party applications, but the company says it’s in conversations with Kemp Technologies, which makes load balancing products, and Fat Pipe Networks, which makes SD-WAN software.
Avaya spokesperson Randy Cross said in an interview that anything that can be compiled on an x86 platform will be able to run on Pivot.
Arc, which is announced but not yet released, is service orchestration software that will spin up applications running on Pivot servers and link them into service chains.
Avaya is positioning these products for campuses and remote sites. Instead of backhauling traffic to a data center or deploying multiple physical appliances at remote sites, organizations can deploy network services locally.
Avaya is also promoting Pivot for edge computing use cases, such as factory floors, electrical substations, or remote work sites where data needs to be processed locally.
Capture The Branch
There’s a lot of activity around branch networking these days as vendors extend their product portfolios to capture more branch networking functions. For instance, SD-WAN vendors have an eye on replacing branch routers, firewalls, and WAN optimization appliances.
Most recently, Riverbed, which is already attacking branches from the SD-WAN and WAN optimization fronts, announced its intention to acquire WLAN vendor Xirrus. This will extend Riverbed’s presence into wireless and wired access at the branch (Xirrus has a small portfolio of access switches).
Meanwhile, the wireless vendor Meraki, which already offers its own line of branch switches and security appliances to complement its APs, is offering SD-WAN capabilities as well.
Now Avaya is joining the fray with Pivot, hoping to lure customers with the promise of centrally orchestrated virtual services for networking and security, deployed on commodity servers, for remote sites.
At present, Pivot is available on x86 servers, though the company plans to support the ARM platform. The company also said it would make Pivot available on its VSP 8600 series switches, though not until Q4 of 2017.
A Spot Of Uncertainty
While Avaya continues to develop new products, the company is experiencing a period of business uncertainty. Avaya declared bankruptcy earlier this year, and is awaiting the outcome of a $100 million bid by Extreme Networks to purchase Avaya’s networking business—which would include Pivot and Arc.
According to the bankruptcy proceedings, there’s an open period for other buyers to make an offer. If other qualified offers come in, an auction will be held. To my knowledge, no other bids are on the table. The entire process should be concluded by June 2017.