Extreme Networks launches new machine learning-powered Smart OmniEdge solution

Extreme Networks believes that the addition of AI and simplicity to the edge, the unification of campus and distributed architectures, and the choice that customers now have between an appliance and as-a-service, will make it easier for partners to have conversations with customers about business problems rather than networking challenges.

Extreme Networks has announced the introduction of Smart OmniEdge, a new network edge offering that leverages machine learning technology to provide secure management of both wireless and wired infrastructure, and of both campus and distributed environments, through a single pane of glass.

“The announcement is both a marketing pillar and new product,” said Mike Leibovitz, director of wireless product management and strategy at Extreme Networks. “The marketing pillar is this term Smart OmniEdge. The product is an assembly of technologies that we have in our business today, together with some new management and software capabilities. Together, this lets us expand our story to the industry around automated campus products and our agile data centre product portfolio. Extreme is only the true end-to-end networking technology company which wraps the capabilities we have for the edge for both campus and distributed architectures.”

With the growth in both the number of users, and Internet of Things devices, the edge of the network, especially in wireless, continues to grow exponentially, as do customer expectations.

“This is something that neither ourselves nor our competitors have really solved efficiently to date,” Leibovitz said.

The machine learning capabilities that the company sees as critical to the solution have been developed over the last two years within Extreme Networks.

“Some of the technologies that we acquired brought capabilities that that allowed us to build more on top, but the core technology itself was a ground-up project we developed,” Leibovitz indicated. “You need this kind of intelligence to do things humans can’t possibly do, especially for very large complex and distributed networks.”

The product portfolio itself is aimed squarely at Extreme Networks’ target markets – from the midmarket to the large enterprise, and Leibovitz stressed that it, rather than the marketing angle, is the key part of the announcement.

“It is a significant part of our core strategy,” he said. “It is one of the key convergence points for a number of the technologies we have acquired, into a single pane of glass and a single deployable architecture. Most enterprises have both campuses and distributed sites – head offices, and larger stores or offices, combined with remote locations. We’ve fused together both. The technology we acquired from Zebra, which was originally from Motorola, combined with our own developed technology, allow us to help our customers solve both distributed and campus environments with the same solution.”

The Extreme Smart OmniEdge solution family includes multiple products.

The ExtremeCloud Appliance is an on-prem version of ExtremeCloud, which also features cloud-like licensing and management, and is available as a virtual machine as well.

“This allows the technology to be deployed either as an appliance or as a service,” Leibovitz said. “It fuses together our campus and distributed architecture into a unified one that they can now deploy in their own data centre or their own cloud.”

ExtremeAI for Smart OmniEdge is the AI component, a hosted application that augments human intelligence with proactive artificial intelligence to the complex task of RF management. It uses machine learning to collect network analytics, device statistics, connection rates, and user and application experience characteristics, so the network continuously learns and adapts

“It’s a capability that will require an additional license on top of the appliance,” Leibovitz said. “It’s an asset that many customers will want because adding the AI on top takes you from better to best, and enables you to make better decisions.”

Extreme Extended Edge Switching is a new technology that collapses multiple network layers into a single logical switch, enhancing the intelligence of edge switches, while flattening the network and eliminating deployment complexity.

“It gives customers a highly intelligent and highly adaptable network computing environment that fits their organization,” Leibovitz said.

Finally, Extreme Defender for IoT is the first of what Extreme Networks intends to be multiple Internet of Things solutions. This one is for the onboarding and securing of wired IoT devices. The application can be deployed on the ExtremeCloud Appliance in any form factor, to provide centralized visibility and management that allows analysis of traffic flows and pinpointing of anomalies.

“This first Extreme Defender for IoT is for a pretty specific use case – protecting against legacy older wired devices by using an adapter that gives you similar characteristics to one of our switches or APs in the network,” Leibovitz said. “It lets customers concerned about security of wired devices like old MRI machines deal with the challenges of these older wired devices. Plugging it into our adapter provides the same security as our modern Aps and switches. It’s also designed for the non-technical user to be able to connect these devices to the network in a secure manner.”

Other Extreme Defender for IoT solutions will follow, Leibovitz added.

Leibovitz said this kind of solution will change the conversations for their channel partners.

“We think this will give major advantages to those that are selling our solution because the addition of intelligence and simplicity, the unifying of campus and distributed architectures, and the choice that now exists between an appliance and as-a-service will make it easier for partners to have business conversations with customers. Smart OmniEdge lets have conversations about business problems, not networking challenges.”