Avaya Transitions to the Cloud with Aiven Underpinning its Flagship Avaya Experience Platform

The Customer Experience leader gains 40% reduction in compute, 15% better cost management and more efficiencies enabled by Aiven’s open source data platform

Avaya is a global leader in customer experience solutions, supporting more than 6 million contact center seats worldwide, while also offering a portfolio of employee communication and collaboration solutions. The company recently launched a major business transformation plan to support its global customer base in transitioning from their largely on-premises deployments to the many benefits of the cloud — leveraging its flagship customer experience solution for the contact center, the Avaya Experience Platform.

Avaya chose the Aiven platform, and specifically Aiven for Apache Kafka® and Aiven for Apache OpenSearch®, as foundational elements of its Avaya Experience Platform cloud solution. Partnering with Aiven has enabled Avaya to collaborate with Kafka experts, and quickly develop and mature their innovation on the platform, as well as recognize significant cost savings.

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Improving the customer experience for major businesses around the world

Avaya’s goal is simple: to help organizations drive business momentum by creating unmatched customer and employee experiences. Many of the world’s largest brands and government agencies trust their Avaya solutions, including 90% of the top 100 U.S. companies, the top 19 global banks, and the world’s top 10 airlines and top 10 automotive companies. With a customer-centric approach and innovation that makes customer interactions not only work but work better, more and more enterprise customers choose Avaya every day.


Moving from on-premises contact center solutions to the cloud

To help their customers bring the power of AI and automation to their processes and workflows, Avaya helps them chart a journey to the cloud — which will mean moving thousands of on-premises customers to Avaya Experience Platform, where they gain significant cost savings, efficiencies and other competitive advantages. Avaya also benefits internally from cloud efficiencies.

“In the past, Avaya focused on developing its own solutions. Embracing a cloud model and moving to hyperscalers promised to open up a lot of capacity and free our teams to concentrate on developing Avaya products,” explains Rich Driscoll, Senior Vice President, IT Enterprise and Cloud Operations, Avaya.

For example, with open source technologies Apache Kafka® and OpenSearch® as key parts of the Avaya Experience Platform solution, Avaya had a number of platform engineers focused on their management. Running these technologies in the cloud would require even more specialized expertise which they did not have in-house. Support from Aiven addressed these issues.

Performance and uptime were also key considerations. Avaya’s move to the cloud would affect thousands of companies, and most cannot tolerate performance lags or downtime in their contact centers. “Some of our customers are keen to transition to the cloud to reduce their cost of ownership — but they need to see consistent levels of SLAs and SLOs before making that transformation,” says Chris Hill, Avaya’s Chief Information Security Officer. “It’s impossible to overstate how important that level of resilience is to our business model.”

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The Aiven platform underpins the Avaya Experience Platform cloud data infrastructure

After evaluating different vendors, Avaya selected Aiven’s data platform running on Microsoft Azure. Aiven for Apache Kafka handles internal messages across various microservices in the Avaya Experience Platform solution, ensuring the large volume of data is transferred in near-real time, with very low latency.

Aiven for OpenSearch stores digital communications such as email, web chat and messaging, and enables these customer communications to be searched in the Avaya Experience Platform. Importantly, this service supports PCI and HIPAA compliance. “Our customers have a lot of sensitive data within their systems. We need to meet client demands for HIPAA, PCI, ISO 27101 and GDPR compliance, among others. It was another important reason to partner with Aiven,” says Hill.

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40% reduction in compute and 15% better cost management

Once on board, Aiven experts advised Avaya on right-sizing the Apache Kafka and OpenSearch environments to optimize cloud usage. For example, Avaya had been using productionized compute within its development life cycle, which meant that it was spending around 40% more than needed. Aiven also identified additional cost-saving opportunities, such as switching off computing or putting it on standby over weekends and holidays, which led to 15% better cost management.

Avaya also benefits financially from the combination of Aiven and Azure. “Being able to leverage our [Azure] hyperscaler contract, and to use Aiven on top of that, has been very beneficial and successful for us,” explains Driscoll.

With Aiven’s operational expertise, manual platform modifications were redesigned as infrastructure code changes, introducing a level of standardization that increased quality and reduced incidents. The move from a manual to an automated orchestration lowered the mean time to respond and mean time to resolve incidents by 30-40%.

“Aiven provides the guardrails to enable Avaya to tap into the potential of open source,” says Driscoll. “Aiven makes it enterprise-ready through all the value-add services like technical support, performance optimization and security.”

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The right skills in the right place

Hill is clear about the advantages that adopting Aiven’s data platform and managed services has given Avaya: “Aiven helps us stay focused on our core mandate of automating the Avaya Experience Platform and enabling innovation — rather than having resources stuck on maintenance activities.”

Without Aiven, Avaya would have needed to hire new talent from a relatively small pool of people having relevant technical skills in order to get to the level of maturity and automation needed. “Alternatively, we could have moved over resources from other teams and trained them,” Hill says, “But that would have slowed our ability to develop and drive innovation.”

Driscoll agrees: “Thanks to Aiven, we’ve been able to move away from having teams trying to stay current and on the cutting edge of managing Apache Kafka, which just doesn’t scale from a people or compute standpoint.” In fact, Avaya has transferred six of its platform engineers, who had previously been focused on maintaining the Kafka environment, to work on more satisfying and value-enabling tasks.

The Aiven Console GUI has also delivered improvements, making it easier for Avaya’s non-Kafka experts to operate the solutions, and enabling its developers and engineers to build more collaborative project teams. “We have come to rely heavily on Aiven for Apache Kafka. Given we are a real-time communications platform, Kafka is literally at the heart of how our microservices interact and communicate,” says Driscoll.

Flexibility in the future

As Avaya continues its own journey as a cloud communications service provider, the organization is evaluating a number of additional services from Aiven, such as Apache Flink®, PostgreSQL®, ClickHouse® and MirrorMaker.

“We are looking to leverage more services from the Aiven platform,” says Driscoll.

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