Avaya and Extreme Networks last week said they are partnering to deliver customers a new option for building end-to-end converged IP networks and to develop management and other technologies needed to improve such environments.Avaya\u00a0and\u00a0Extreme Networks\u00a0last week said they are partnering to deliver customers a new option for building end-to-end converged IP networks and to develop management and other technologies needed to improve such environments.The agreement, under which IP telephony vendor Avaya will resell and support Extreme's LAN switches, lets the companies gang up on\u00a0Cisco, the leading supplier of LAN switching and IP telephony products.Reselling Extreme's BlackDiamond, Alpine and Summit products strengthens Avaya's Ethernet switch offerings; its existing Cajun products account for less than 2% of the worldwide LAN switch market, according to IDC. Avaya has pulled back on development and marketing of its Cajun switches, though it will continue to sell them.The deal also puts Avaya's $2 billion services arm to work for Extreme, giving it an army of 8,500 Avaya service professionals for installing and maintaining its Ethernet gear.The two companies say they will work to co-develop technologies in the areas of management and provisioning, quality of service (QoS) and security for converged IP networks. Avaya and Extreme pointed to\u00a0Session Initiation Protocol\u00a0- an emerging convergence standard backed by Microsoft - as a technology they will focus on in joint product development efforts.According to product managers from both firms, one technology being considered would let Extreme switches recognize Avaya IP phones and automatically configure QoS, security and virtual LAN settings for them. Other technologies could involve securing Avaya IP telephony gear with 802.1x technology running on Extreme's switch ASICs. The firms say they also will work to meld their LAN and voice-over-IP (VoIP) management software platforms into a single application capable of provisioning and monitoring voice and data services.Observers say the companies could find it challenging to work closely together given their different backgrounds."Extreme still has a West Coast start-up mentality, while Avaya is an East Coast company with roots in AT&T and Lucent," says Josh Johnson, an analyst with Synergy Research.Zeus Kerravala, a Yankee Group analyst, says Extreme has the most to gain from the deal. "It's more likely that Extreme will have more success selling into Avaya's installed base" than vice versa, he says.Avaya and Extreme are billing their combined product offerings as a standards-based alternative to "proprietary" convergence products, namely Cisco's AVVID product line. Then again, Avaya uses proprietary protocols in its Multivantage VoIP products, as do most competitors. Some industry analysts and users consider Extreme a leader in Layer 3 and Gigabit Ethernet LAN switching, though its market share has slipped.