Managed services and cloud computing don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Avaya Government Solutions' recently launched communications and networking services offering demonstrates this notion. Avaya’s Government Outsourcing Solutions (GovOS), consists of both hosted and managed services for unified communications, contact centers and data networking. GovOS features a Session Initiation Protocol-based architecture and Avaya Aura, which the company describes as its core unified communications applications. The company targets civilian and defense agencies.
Scott Anderson, vice president of cloud strategy for Avaya Government Solutions, called GovOS a hybrid solution, noting the cloud and managed elements.
“What we are seeing, is the agencies are preferring the core to be located in a data center and, therefore, hosted and having local survivability at various levels,” Anderson said.
In that scenario, GovOS is delivered as private, hosted services with local survivability over Avaya’s cloud-based infrastructure. Avaya remotely manages the local component. GovOS may also take the form of a private managed service delivered over the customer’s own network.
Steve Derr, executive vice president for Strategy and Systems Engineering, Avaya Government Solutions, said agencies may tap GovOS services to support their continuity of operations plans, enable telework and mobility strategies, and expand the range of available collaboration tools. The services can also contribute to green IT initiatives via the centralization and consolidation of physical equipment, he added.
Pricing is based on a monthly per-user rate. Avaya said GovOS’ unified communications and data networking services are already available, with contact center applications set to arrive later this year.
Core Applications and RedundancyIn the GovOS offering, the core consists of Avaya Aura unified communications applications, which include Session Manager, Communication Manager, System Manager, Aura Messaging, Application Enablement Services for Mobility and Video, and Presence Server. The applications are deployed in a data center, either provided through Avaya or customer owned, according to Avaya.
Applications that include redundancy -- Session Manager, Communication Manager, System Manager, and Aura Messaging -- will either be colocated in a single data center or geographically dispersed in multiple data centers depending on customer requirements, scale and SLA terms, Anderson said.
“The local survivability function extends from basic survivability where the customer installs a gateway with connectivity to local circuits to a system that replicates the functionality delivered from the core,” Anderson explained.
The gateway-based solution provides basic functionality and assures access for 911 and the ability to place and receive a limited number of calls, he noted.
The more robust solution includes at least Session Manager, Communication Manager and Aura Messaging for increased functionality in the event connectivity to the core is lost, Anderson said. Avaya, he added, recommends that dual (critical) MPLS circuits be installed for each location regardless of the survivability options, and requires this approach for SLAs with five 9s or higher uptime.
Federal Cloud InitiativesVendors pursuing the federal market these days will encounter a couple of high-profile cloud-oriented initiatives. The administration’s “cloud first” initiative, which requires agencies to consider cloud solutions when looking for IT. That effort dovetails with the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, which seeks to dramatically cut the government’s data center population by 2015. Agencies shuttering data centers will presumably move to private clouds hosted by other agencies, public clouds, or some combination thereof.
Anderson said he counts cloud first and FDCCI among several important drivers, which also include telework policies and bring-your-own-device programs. He also cited the government’s migration from legacy gear, noting that Avaya aims to provide an affordable upgrade path. He said the company is typically replacing TDM Centrex technology.
Government agencies will be able to purchase GovOS through the General Services Administration’s Networx telecommunications program. At this point, the services are available through one of the program’s three prime contractors. The other two service provider primes will initially launch GovOS under their WITS 3 contracts, another GSA vehicle. The Avaya offering will eventually migrate to Networx through those two prime contractors as well.
GovOS complies with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) standards and is currently accredited at the FISMA Moderate level (the other levels being low and high). The company anticipates Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) certification in the first quarter of 2013. FedRAMP marks the government’s attempt to establish a standard approach for assessing the security of cloud services.