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Avaya Networking : An open Letter to Extreme


Avaya : Open letter to Extreme



Dear Extreme,

I hear you’ll be buying Avaya’s Networking product line.

Congratulations!! You got yourself A great product portfolio at,well… a really good price.

As you know though, Avaya has tried to make this profitable, and they are obviously giving up. So this will not be without its challenges..

If I had $100m lying around somewhere, I’d have purchased this from Avaya myself, but I am a little bit short, so yay for you!!

The next best thing is to give you some unsolicited advice, so that you can avoid some of the glaring mistakes  made by Avaya.

The internet loves lists , so I’ll number my advice to you


1.)Disregard Avaya’s Advice

What ever advice Avaya gives you, regarding how to manage, develop or sell their networking product,go ahead and ignore it. Actually, you should probably do the opposite of whatever they say. It is very difficult to bungle a technology advantage in a  growing segment (Data Centers) to the extent that Avaya has, so they must know all the wrong things to do.


2.)Don’t  Throw The Technology Away.

I know this is probably all about the customers for you, but Avaya’s SPB implementation has some great features which if advertised correctly,can help you gain market share


3.)Hire some Sales Engineers with Implementation Experience across multiple Vendor Platforms.

 I’m partial to hiring CCIEs. In my opinion, one of Avaya’s greatest failings was emphasizing features most Network Engineer don’t care about.  I  once sat through an Avaya product presentation where someone was touting capabilities that Cisco’s products have had since 1998.

If you are not sure what features to push, try “no more spanning tree” and “VPC in entry level switches” for starters.

4.)Build a Simulator or contribute to the GNS project.

Using Cisco’s VIRL or GNS , I can bring up and test a 20 node Cisco network in under 10 minutes. An Avaya SPB network? IF there is a Simulator, then it has to be the best kept secret in the world.

5.)Make the equipment easy to buy.

This one speaks for itself. You can even flood ebay with refurbs.

6.)  Publish Some Books on Avaya Networking

Right now, if you were to search Amazon , you would find a grand total of  one book on Avaya Networking (I wrote it). How do Engineers new to the product learn about it?

Pay people to write books if need be, but get the info out there.  See the trend here? If people can’t read about it, or practise it, they will probably not buy it.

I notice there are no books (on Amazon) about Extreme networking, so this will probably not change.

7.)Consolidate the Command Line.

Avaya presently has 3 different flavors of their command line..The CLI, ACLI, and the ERS CLI . Bring it down to one. While you are at it, the ERS product line should probably be eliminated.


8.)Improve the command line tools.

There are many things that Network Engineers take for granted which are not present on the Avaya Command line. E.g “debug ip packet”, password recovery without losing the existing configs


I had a much longer list of things, but I will stop here for now, my Managed Service Customers need my attention. Good Luck with your new toys.

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