Alcatel-Lucent unleashes upgrades for large enterprises

Enhancements are designed to help Alcatel-Lucent customers tackle data virtualization, unified communications, and application and business process integration

Alcatel-Lucent this week is expected to unveil a range of enhancements to its large enterprise product portfolio, including an upgraded datacenter switch and IP telephony extensions.

The enhancements are designed to help Alcatel-Lucent customers tackle projects such as data virtualization, unified communications, and application and business process integration. The company says these objectives are in keeping with its "dynamic enterprise" vision of aligning networks, people, processes, and knowledge to simplify communications and improve performance.

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It appears to be sticking. Alcatel-Lucent says it has signed on 5,000 new customers over the past two years, and that despite the current economic challenges and forecasts of lower IT spending globally, contract sizes in the first half of 2008 have increased in the $1 million to $10 million-plus range.

Alcatel-Lucent is looking to win more accounts like its showcase University of Pittsburgh Medical Center deal. That's valued at more than $300 million over 10 years. But the company is still challenged when it comes to gaining market share -- it has been relatively flat at 1.2 percent of the $18 billion global market for the past three years, according to Dell'Oro Group.

Perhaps the new OmniSwitch 9000E will catalyze that. The 9000E is an end-of-row datacenter switch featuring multivirtual routing and forwarding, which allows it to partition different virtual routing instances or domains within the switch. This is designed to reduce costs and power consumption by dividing up a single routing switch into multiple, discrete routers serving different applications or workgroups.

The 10- and 18-slot 9000Es have the same 192Gbps-to-1.92Tbps switching and backplane capacity, and density, as Alcatel-Lucent's existing 10- and 18-slot OmniSwitch 9000 switches. The key difference, aside from the virtual routing, is that the 9000E features in-service software upgrades, higher-capacity buffers/queues, wire speed interfaces, and higher availability.

Also on tap from Alcatel-Lucent is a new branch office router (compare access routers) called the OmniAccess 5510. The 5510 serves as a unified services gateway that integrates network services, voice call processing, WAN connectivity, VPN tunnel encryption and management, and intrusion detection and prevention. It's available in a range of fixed configurations that provide WAN connectivity at up to one T-1/E-1, Asymmetrical DSL, Serial or SFP interface, Alcatel-Lucent says. Each model sports four 10/100Mbps LAN ports and an integrated 10/100Mbps Ethernet WAN port, the company says.

For routing, the 5510 supports RIP v1/v2 and Open Shortest Path First/Border Gateway Protocol dynamic routing, PIM-based multicast routing, IGMP, GRE tunnels, Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, policy-based routing, and 32 VRF instances per system.

Alcatel-Lucent also will roll out a new release of its OmniPCX Enterprise IP PBX software. Release 9.0 supports up to 100,000 users and features Session Initiation Protocol controller and trunking enhancements that allow adoption of new unified communications applications and SIP device management, Alcatel-Lucent says.

The company also upgraded its OmniTouch 8600 My Instant Communicator unified messaging and communications client. New software for the client, Release 5.1, offers support for third-party applications such as Microsoft Office Communicator and IBM Sametime 8.0 and Lotus Notes.

For contact centers, Alcatel-Lucent unveiled Release 9.0 of OmniTouch Contact Center Premium (10 to 150 agents) and Standard editions (up to 10 agents). The new software improves agent access to back-office expertise through the system's interactive voice response and text-to-speech capabilities, with multimedia information disseminated by voice, fax, or e-mail. It supports the Genesys Voice Platform 8, which acts as an integrated platform for voice applications. (Genesys is an Alcatel-Lucent company.)

Pricing for the OmniSwitch 9000E starts at $15,000. Licensing of My Instant Communicator starts at $190 per seat when acquired standalone or $140 per seat when acquired in a package.

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This story, "Alcatel-Lucent unleashes upgrades for large enterprises" was originally published by Network World.