Extreme Networks expands Software Defined Architecture with new products, enhancements

The centre of Extreme's SDN strategy is building an SDN solution that is open, standards based, and comprehensive, leveraging Open Daylight, and the acquisition of vendor partners is key to provide validation and spur innovation.

Dan Dulac Extreme

Dan Dulac, vice president of solution strategy at Extreme

San Jose-based Extreme Networks has announced enhancements to its Software Defined Architecture, with new switching and analytics products and the addition of more technology solution partners, something that Extreme considers to be absolutely vital to its data centre ecosystem.

Extreme’s Software Defined Networking strategy, which was announced this summer, underpins the company own definition of itself as offering the first truly open, standards-based and comprehensive data centre ecosystem. While other vendors can certainly claim to offer such an ecosystem themselves, Extreme takes the view that they are the first to offer a sufficiently high standard of all these elements to attract buy-in from large numbers of other tech vendors seeking a truly open system.

“The centre of our SDN strategy is building an SDN solution that is open, standards based, and comprehensive, leveraging Open Daylight,” said Dan Dulac, vice president of solution strategy at Extreme. “We are not the first vendor to have an open platform, but we consider we are the first to have all three of these elements, measured by how many other technology vendors have bought in.”

That buy-in, Dulac said, represents broad industry support for Extreme’s version of an open data centre solution.

“We can attract all these open standards vendors from all over the industry,” he said. “You don’t have a platform until you have mindshare – and you get that with other vendors buying in.” That number of partners in Extreme’s Technology Solution Partner Program is now approaching fifty.

Dulac said that Extreme’s goal is to use that large ecosystem able to tap the vendor partners’ innovation philosophy.

“No vendor on their own can keep up with the pace of software innovation,” he said. “You have to do it by making it easy for vendors to integrate with your network technologies, by getting mindshare.

“What we are really pushing for is to build an ecosystem of software vendors and technologies, expanding beyond the datacentre to broader wireless opportunities, a true end-to-end SDN story,” Dulac said. “We can build all these software technologies into the network using our SDN. Many of them are not data centre specific, but our value comes from integrating all the others.”

Extreme Networks SDN architecture integrates OpenDaylight with their own OneFabric Control Center, OneController, and OneFabric Connect SDN API.

“We are also the only vendor in the space now that has a unified operating system covering all three of the wireless LAN, campus LAN and data centre areas, without OEMing anything.” Dulac said. “Cisco is the only other vendor to have all the products, but they don’t have the unified OS. Because their portfolio is acquisition-based, it’s hard to have a unified OS across all products.”

Dulac said that while hardware is the table stakes, the key to success now is building unique differentiation on top of it.

“That’s the key differentiator,” he said. “Long term, all of our software will converge into our SDN platform.”

In the next 30-45 days, Extreme intends to release what Dulac called “a multitude” of new products for the data centre. They start with two today, the Summit X670-G2 switch, a 48-port 1RU 10 GbE fixed switch with best-in-class 600ns latency massive density for 10GbE (72 ports 1RU or 144 ports in 2RU), and the Purview application sensor. The Purview technology was acquired with Enterasys. This sensor is a network-based application analytics appliance with four 10GBASE-X ports via SFP+, and with front-to-back cooling for data center deployments.

Extreme also announced the addition of three new vendors to their software ecosystem.

Sanbolic improves availability, load-balancing and user experiences in virtual applications and across multiple locations and clouds by hyper-scaling IT resources. A-10 Networks improves data centre security and application performance by leveraging Network Access Control, location services, and topology awareness. NetOptics, which was acquired a year ago by Ixia, improves security and application delivery across virtual and physical infrastructures and inter-VM (east-west) traffic, and eliminates blind spot vulnerabilities caused by consolidating servers in virtualized environments.

“All of these solutions perform better when they are integrated directly with the network,” Dulac said.

Extreme also announced an expansion of their relationship with Lenovo, through which Extreme’s high performance Ethernet solutions are available as part of Lenovo’s portfolio of HPC solutions.

“We have been working closely with Lenovo, but also working at a measured pace to make sure everyone gets this right,” Dulac said.