New Ethernet Switches from Avaya Simplify Operations for Small and Midsize Enterprises and Remote Branches
Avaya recently announced its Ethernet Routing Switch (ERS) 3500 portfolio (GA as of April 25). This is a new series of compact Ethernet switches designed to provide converged services within single or multiple sites (typically with 100 users or less) and for midsize-to-large companies (collectively SMEs) looking for a compact switch to provide connectivity within remote offices.
The ERS 3500 Series consists of six Fast and Gigabit Ethernet switches available in 10 and 24-port configurations. Through support for IEEE 802.3at PoE+, which delivers up to 32 Watts of power per port to end devices, ERS 3500s are able to power IP phones, wireless LAN access points, networked high-definition CCTV cameras and other devices. This eliminates the need for separate power supplies for each unit, enabling reduced cabling and management costs for adds, moves and changes.
A key differentiator of the product is its stackable chassis architecture which will be available on the 24 port models post GA (v5.1) with the first software release. Once that happens, businesses will be able to stack up to eight ERS 3500 units for better network reliability and resiliency, easier management and up to 80G bps of virtual backplane capacity – significant for a product in this space.
Avaya is among a growing number of networking vendors looking to help SMEs, which are being impacted by the same trends in mobile and cloud computing that are squeezing larger enterprises. These trends are increasing the need to better connectivity. Similarly on April 12, Cisco expanded its network portfolio with its new Cisco 500 Series Stackable Managed Switches. Cisco officials said these smaller businesses were seeing the same demands as larger enterprises. These switches, which come near the high end of Cisco’s SMB switch offerings, are available now, running from $590 to $5,556 MSRP. It should be pointed out, however, that this family is targeted at the traditional SMB.
Within Cisco’s fixed format Ethernet edge switch portfolio, the Catalyst 2960-C and 3650-C compete with the ERS 3500 10-port model variants. The low end 24-port models within the Cisco Catalyst 2960-S product line compete with the ERS 3500 24-port model variants (note that the higher end 10 Gig Cisco Catalyst 2960-S models compete with the Avaya ERS 4000 Series lines.). These products are all targeted to SME / enterprise branch opportunities and have similar functionality and warranty offers.
What This Means to You
Avaya has validated interoperability between the ERS 3500 and the IP Office system. This ensures that the two products work together seamlessly when they are deployed together – eliminating complexities associated with having to provision, manage and troubleshoot a third party switch with the Avaya voice / unified communications infrastructure. Deploying a 3500 Series in conjunction with Avaya IP Office increases simplicity through auto-detect and auto-provisioning capabilities and automated install features enabled by the incorporation of IEEE 802.1AB Link Layer Discovery Protocol and LLDP-Media Endpoint Discovery (LLDP-MED) as well as the Avaya Auto Discovery and Auto Configuration (ADAC) feature. In fact any IP phone plugged into an Avaya Ethernet switch is automatically recognized and configured in just over one minute.
In non-Avaya IP Office environments, the ERS 3500 offers a quick start installation script via Command Line Interface as well a quick start screen in Enterprise Device Manager via a web browser.
Other key features include:
Pay as you grow: For environments that want to start small but have the flexibility to pay as they grow, the ERS 3500 24-port models will be enabled with the Avaya Stackable Chassis Architecture. This architecture provides functionality equivalent to a modular chassis but with cost-effective fixed form factor switches. Similar to adding line cards to a modular chassis, new ERS 3500 units can be added individually to form a stack of switches. This enables customers to pay for additional ports and bandwidth capacity as needed while still managing the stack as a single unit. The ERS 3500 will support 80 Gigabits of virtual backplane capacity in a stack of 8 units managed with a single IP address in software version 5.1.
Avaya’s Stackable Chassis architecture can also improve network availability through features such as the ability to hot-swap individual units in a stack without impacting traffic, the ability to support link aggregation across the stack - increasing resiliency, and through sub-second recovery in the event of a link or unit failure.
Reduce noise in open areas: Three fanless models are ideal for placement in locations such as classrooms, boardrooms, hospitality suits and retail shops. These models can also operate with a fan for a higher power more intense, converged deployment scenario making it suitable for multiple different deployments within a customer environment. This feature is unique among competitive products.
Simplify Operations: For customers who are looking for a simple Graphical User Interface (GUI) for management and provisioning, Avaya’s Enterprise Device Manager (EDM) is an embedded web-based element management and configuration tool that enables set-up, configuration and monitoring of a single device using either HTTP or HTTPS (Secure Web). The on-box embedded version of EDM is available at no extra charge with every switch and can be accessed by a standard web browser. There is also an off-box version available as a free downloadable software plug-in that can be installed on Avaya’s Configuration and Orchestration Manager (COM) application.
Some of the key differences between the ERS 3500 and the equivalent Cisco Catalyst models:
- ERS 3500 offers more compelling price points – $2,395 vs. $5,495 for the Catalyst 2960S-24PS-L (Gig PoE+ switches with stacking enabled)
- The ERS 3510GT-PWR+ at 170 Watts offers highest power budget of any other 8-12 port compact Ethernet switch in the market making it uniquely suited for intense converged deployments (i.e. Powering high concentration of next-generation access points for example)
- When stacking is enabled on the ERS 3500 24-port models – they will support 4x the virtual backplane capacity with 2x more stack members at 50% less costs since unlike the Catalyst 2960-S Avaya does not require any additional hardware or licensing to enable stacking.
A big part of Avaya’s go-to-market (G2M) strategy with the ERS 3500 portfolio is through network attach opportunities with IP Office. In support of channel sales Avaya is developing sales guides and battle cards, simplifying the joint quoting and ordering of the two products, testing and validating best practice configurations, and will be publishing technical solution guidelines.
Attaching the ERS 3510GT-PWR+ to WAN 8100 sales presents itself as another channel opportunity. The ERS 3510GT-PWR+ has a relatively high power budget in comparison to other switches in its class making it well suited as a small concentrator switch for a concentration of access of access points that might be in conference areas or public WiFi zones. And, of course, being feature ready to support some of the higher powered access points that will hit the market in the future make it a good value.
The other major partner value proposition is in the ease of installation, management and support of Avaya solutions. There are auto-detect, auto-provision and zero touch deployments with IP Office and, of course, the value of single source vendor for services and support.