Avaya and Juniper Networks have tightened a partnership to bring security together with the next wave of enterprise telephony.
Avaya wouldresell Juniper security products alongside its own Internet Protocol (IP) telephony gear and offer integration and support for both, the companies said.
Some channel partners of the two vendors would also be able to offer that package, director of IP telephony and mobility at Avaya, Lawrence Byrd, said.
Many large enterprises are phasing in IP telephony, but security is the number one concern of IT administrators and has to come into play with any deployment, according to president of consultancy Communications Network Architects, Frank Dzubeck.
The Juniper-Avaya partnership was a clear competitive move against Cisco Systems, which provided integrated security and IP telephony capabilities in gear such as the popular Integrated Services Router (ISR) platform for small and medium-sized businesses and branch offices, Dzubeck said.
Many in the industry had expected a new product jointly developed by Juniper and Avaya that would compete directly with the ISR, he said.
The partners did not announce any new products. Instead, they unveiled the fruits of cooperation and of integration work that began last May.
As a result of that work, they knew Avaya IP telephony gear would work smoothly with Juniper capabilities such as security and wide-area network (WAN) optimisation, Byrd said.
Among other things, that interoperability could head off problems that IP calls had run into on secured networks, he said.
"A lot of early firewall products did a lot of damage to voice," Byrd said.
In the process of protecting networks from harmful data packets, firewalls sometimes degraded call quality, he said.
Specifically, the companies want to help enterprises set up distributed IP voice capabilities throughout their facilities worldwide, including branch offices.
Using the Juniper products, Avaya can provide for firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs) and intrusion detection tools to secure the network while supporting IP calls, Byrd said.
The partners also could provide features beyond security, such as WAN optimisation to make sure there was enough bandwidth for calls, he said.
Also with the combined offerings, enterprises could help employees work at home and on the road, as well as distributing call-center capabilities to multiple offices and even home-based workers, Byrd said.
Avaya's 7000-strong service force, Avaya Global Services, would offer network and security assessments as well as full service and support for the combined deployments of Juniper and Avaya gear, he said.
It can also provide management and maintenance of the networks as a managed service.
Avaya is the biggest threat to Cisco in IP telephony and Juniper is its key rival in high-end routing, so it was not surprising that it was taking on the dominant LAN vendor together, Dzubeck said.
One thing Cisco didn't have was a services organiszation that could work with gear from multiple vendors, he said.
Avaya's Byrd played that up as a key advantage: Avaya could set up and secure IP telephony for an enterprise even if it used a network from another vendor, he said.
The joint offering would become available in February in North America and later this year in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, rolling out still later this year in the Asia-Pacific region, Byrd said.