Extreme Networks looks to be different and disruptive with ExtremeCloud IQ cloud management

Extreme rolls out a rebranded and enhanced version of the Hive Manager solution they recently acquired with Aerohive, with the addition of a new Co-Pilot automation capability.

Today, Extreme Networks kicks off their annual Partner Summit in San Diego with the announcement of ExtremeCloud IQ. A rebranding of Aerohive Hive Manager, ExtremeCloud IQ  is being positioned as an end-to-end cloud management application. It is being swiftly integrated within the Extreme cloud portfolio, with the WiFi component completed, and the expansion into the wired portfolio set to be completed in short order.  ExtremeCloud IQ’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities provide insights, in addition to complete visibility, control, and automation of the network.

“I’m more excited than I have been in my entire career,” said Gordon Mackintosh, Extreme Networks’ vice president of worldwide channels. “Partners want Extreme to be different and disruptive. With this, we are playing right into a market that is rapidly growing. The management capabilities of ExtremeCloud IQ  will provide partners with more stickiness to deliver more services.”

Aerohive’s Hive Manager product was mature third generation technology which Extreme acknowledged was superior for WiFi management in some key aspects than their own XMC technology, particularly in its multi-tenanted capability that made it a much stronger offering for MSPs. Accordingly, they indicated at the time of acquisition three months ago that the plan was to move their own WiFi into the Aerohive Cloud.

“We rebranded Hive Manager because it was so tied to the Aerohive brand, and we considered it important to get fully behind the Extreme brand,” said Abby Strong, Extreme Networks’ VP of Product Marketing. “We accomplished the wireless part of this integration in the first 90 days since the acquisition closed. We are doing it at cloud speed.”

The plan is to go considerably beyond this however, and use the cloud management as the base to manage Extreme’s entire networking lineup.

“We are integrating this technology broadly across our entire networking solutions portfolio,” Strong said. “Right now, cloud networking is the strongest growing part of the networking market. It is only available in WiFi in much of the market, however. We see the ability to extend cloud-driven networking from the edge through the data centre.”

With the wireless part of the integration completed, ExtremeCloud IQ now provides a unified management platform for wireless access points, switches, routers, and security/NAC. The plan is to expand this, over the next 90 days, through a continuous delivery model, to support Extreme’s wired edge switching solutions. This will include the VSP4900 fabric-enabled multi-service edge switch, the X465 premium, stackable multi-rate Gigabit Ethernet switch, and other edge switches.

“We see a strong white space opportunity here,” Strong stated. “Partners can also build their own managed services on top of our platform. That is very unique, that ability to build a practice on top of our platform with complete freedom.”

Strong also outlined Extreme’s plans to expand these capabilities further.

“ExtremeCloud IQ is really focused on delivering more than just network management,” she said. “While the product did have a lot of machine learning before, we are also extending it to increase intelligence and automation. Management is just the basics.”

The first of these new additions to ExtremeCloud IQ is Co-Pilot, a new automation feature.

“Co-Pilot is new automation capability that we have added to the product,” Strong said. “This new functionality will improve the ability of customers to use machine learning. It uses a machine learning-based chat window that is designed to collect both real-time and historical information.” The goal is to use this information to provide what Extreme calls ‘Instant Context’ capabilities, which are intended to reduce the volume of context-gathering activities required for support calls to near zero.

The roadmap for future iterations of Co-Pilot includes two new features that Extreme is highlighting at this time. One is ‘Auto-RMA.’ It proactively automates Return Materials Authorizations {RMA] of any infrastructure device connected to ExtremeCloud IQ hat it determines to be operating sub-optimally. It will then proactively send a replacement device out. administrator.

The other projected  Co-Pilot capability is ‘Auto-DFS.’ It is designed to take the guesswork out of whether to use or not use Dynamic Frequency Selection [DFS] channels by continually monitoring and comparing them for cleanliness. It will then proactively give admins a “go/no go” for DFS usage.

Both Auto-RMA and Auto-DFS are scheduled for release in the first quarter of next year.

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