Extreme Networks and Avaya have agreed to a strategic alliance that will see the companies develop and market voice and data offerings.
Avaya will also resell Extreme's products, while Extreme will gain access to Avaya Global Services.
"What has been happening for a while now is that the two companies have been working with each other's channels," said Martin Wicks, converged systems and applications director at Avaya. He added that Avaya is "very serious about working in the data arena".
But Avaya's own Cajun data networking products have only a token market share. Wicks acknowledged that, while many of his firm's voice over IP installations are put onto Cisco powered networks, sales of Cajun in the UK are "extremely low".
However, the two companies are likely to equip Extreme's switches as gateway devices for Avaya's MultiVantage IP communications platform.
"Two cheers," said Dr Iain Stevenson, service director for access at analyst Ovum. "This will help Extreme compete with other networking firms, but I don't think the alliance will survive in the long term.
"They will be continually evaluating this partnership and at some point it will become less attractive.
"Avaya needs suitable backbone infrastructure, and Extreme has the reputation as an innovator. Extreme is basically the most innovative networking company that isn't Cisco."
Competing products in the two companies' ranges may be consolidated, although discussions have not reached the engineering stage.
"We have been working with Avaya's direct and indirect salesforces in the UK for the past nine months on a number of deals," said Andy Zollo, UK channel manager at Extreme Networks.
"From our point of view this is great, because we get to meet Avaya's top resellers, and we've been able to introduce most of our partners to Avaya. There have already been some partnerships between resellers from both sides."
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