Avaya is pushing the virtualization envelope straight into the realm of unified communications. The company just unveiled a new communications architecture for virtualized UC applications.

Dubbed Avaya Aura Virtualized Environment, the new technology aims to help businesses accelerate mobile Relevant Products/Services collaboration applications across their organization. Avaya is pushing benefits like high reliability, simplicity, functionality and flexible options for deployment.

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said virtualization represents the logical evolution for communications technology.

"Virtualization has clearly transformed every part of IT except communications technology. It's just recently that IT has had the capability to run on software Relevant Products/Services platforms and I think the next logical step is to have them run on virtual platforms," Kerravala said. "That gives communications the same level of flexibility and ability that other software has because they run on" virtual machines.

The Virtualized UC Trend

According to IDC, 75 percent of organizations said virtualization is considered for the default build of new server hardware. What's more, the top concern preventing companies from increasing virtualization is reliability, according to V-Index, a virtualization industry quarterly survey.

More companies are choosing virtualization to reduce the complexity, equipment and costs of their IT operations. The critical next step is the virtualization of unified communications, with 70 percent of companies planning to virtualize their UC applications, according to Nemertes Research.

"Driven by a desire to reduce costs, improve flexibility, and enhance resiliency, more than 70 percent of companies are planning to virtualize their UC applications, leveraging the same infrastructure that supports other business Relevant Products/Services-critical applications," said Irwin Lazar, vice president and service director, UC and Collaboration, Nemertes Research. "But before IT architects adopt UC virtualization, they must ensure that available solutions can meet the performance, management and high availability requirements associated with UC platforms."

Critical Systems Availability

With Avaya Aura Virtualized Environment, all the critical systems availability features of Avaya Aura's server-based platform -- including software duplication, redundant session controls for Session Initiation Protocol access and a survivable core -- are maintained. That, the company said, drives business continuity and reduces risk in virtualized environments.

Avaya said virtualization allows businesses to easily expand UC functions and users without adding new equipment -- and to do it quickly by cutting deployment times. Companies with VMware cloud Relevant Products/Services infrastructure in their data Relevant Products/Services centers can integrate Avaya Aura applications onto their existing server environment.

Avaya Aura also extends virtualization to its call center application, Call Center Elite. With less equipment required, companies can add contact center agents more swiftly and cost-effectively, based on seasonal, sales and purchasing trends. This brings the unique ability to improve oversight and delivery of customer Relevant Products/Services service using virtualization.

"To ensure top-notch customer service, virtualized Aura lets us ramp up contact centers quickly -- up to 20 percent faster. This is great for seasonal spikes, when we need to add resources on the spot," said Joe McCorkle, director of IT UC/Voice Services for RealPage Inc., which is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) products and services provider to the rental housing industry.

"We were able to set up a temporary, 70-agent contact center using no equipment, streamlining operations considerably. Avaya Aura VE is a major advancement for us and for Avaya customers, bringing Avaya's speed, ease and reliability to the virtualized environment."