Avaya details plans for Nortel integration

The comms firm has outlined what it plans to do with Nortel's enterprise portfolio, which it picked up following the Canadian company's bankruptcy

Avaya has laid out its plans for integrating Nortel's enterprise portfolio with its own existing products.

The communications firm, which bought Nortel Enterprise Solutions in September 2009, said on Tuesday that some Nortel products would be discontinued, while some would replace existing Avaya products. Over time, Nortel's existing customers are to be migrated onto Avaya's SIP-based Aura platform, Avaya said.

In six months' time, Nortel Dialer, the 5300 model application server and the 'm' version of the CS1K communications server will no longer be made or sold. The Nortel CC7 contact-centre platform will replace Avaya's Contact Centre Express. All of the four products that are to be discontinued will continue to be supported by Avaya for the next six years.

In a conference call on Tuesday, Avaya global communications systems chief Alan Baratz stressed that Avaya would not force Nortel customers to "rip and replace their current products or even cap their growth", but would instead let them protect their current investment in Nortel products.

"Our approach will be through plug-and-play communications," Baratz said, adding that it will be possible for customers to plug the Aura architecture on top of their existing PBX infrastructure "whether it be an Avaya PBX or a Nortel PBX", then plug their business applications on top of the Aura architecture.

Aura will "become a blending of the best technologies from Avaya and the best technologies from Nortel", according to Baratz.

Nortel's Agile Communication Environment (ACE) unified communications software will be "glued into Aura", Baratz said. He also indicated that Nortel's security and Ethernet products would see further investment from Avaya and deeper integration into Avaya's unified communications and contact-centre products.

Baratz also said that all connections through future Avaya contact-centre products "should be conferences, not point-to-point", and predicted that Contact Center 8 (CC8) would come out "sometime over the course of the next year".

"There will be an accelerated investment in wireless, which is becoming more and more important," he said.

Existing Nortel customers will see a change to their support model, Avaya sales chief Todd Abbott said during the conference call. Whereas Nortel had given 12 months' support with their products, from 1 July customers will get three months' support from Avaya, after which they will be able to buy support on a bespoke model.

A spokesperson for Avaya told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that Avaya would work out a deal with those who had bought Nortel products within the past year on a case-by-case basis.

The International Nortel Networks User Association (Innua) issued a statement on Tuesday in which it said Avaya's announcements indicated that "current Nortel customers will have a great deal of say" in how quickly they are migrated onto the Aura platform.

"The short-term impact on our members will be limited," Innua executive director Victor Bohnert said in the statement. "Our focus now will be to prepare them for the future. We have launched several programmes to inform our members of the changes to their installation timelines and will begin developing training and educational offerings to help them prepare for the long term."

Nortel went bankrupt at the start of 2009, prompting a sell-off of its various units. Since Avaya was announced as the buyer for Nortel's enterprise porfolio, rivals such as ShoreTel have launched offers they hope will tempt Nortel's existing customers into migrating away from Avaya.