Extreme Networks [NASDAQ:EXTR] SDN: Breaking the 'Hardware' Mold

CIO VendorEd Meyercord, President & CEO Today, there is a growing need among organizations—large and small—to leverage their networks in a way, where they can build stronger connections with their customers, partners, and employees, and achieve ultimate business outcomes of higher sales, lower operating costs, and increased share of both mind and pocket. IT departments everywhere find themselves squeezed between implementing major IT initiatives and driving true bottom-line results; both these demands can be met with a seamless corporate network. Extreme Networks [NASDAQ:EXTR] has been delivering software-driven networking solutions assisting IT departments to deliver their ultimate business outcomes. Wired to wireless, desktop to datacenter, the company delivers 100 percent in-sourced, call-in technical support to industries like business, education, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and hospitality. “Building networks to offer exclusive experiences to our customers is our sole priority,” states Ed Meyercord, President and CEO, Extreme Networks.

Inspired by the belief that a successful and well-connected network can enhance business profitability, Extreme Networks has layered on a set of software tools and operating systems to control policy from a single node to every device enterprise-wide. An analytics platform correlates usage with network performance and the company’s intelligent control plane adapts in real-time. Extreme Networks has an array of products and solutions to streamline an organizations’ networking infrastructure. The ExtremeWireless product suite includes access points, centralized management and appliances that enable the highest density coverage in the most challenging environments and deliver an exceptional experience for users, wherever they roam.

Comprehensive Network Coverage

The company offers ExtremeSwitching platforms for high-performance and comprehensive coverage from edge to core. On the other hand, ExtremeControl delivers a set of management software tools that allows firms to control policy from any network node to any individual device, all from a single pane of glass. With this intelligent, software-defined control plane in place, organizations are able to automate, orchestrate, and virtualize the network in real-time to meet the needs of users and applications.

In an instance, Colorado Springs’ first professional soccer franchise—the Colorado Switchbacks FC wanted to deliver a great experience for 4,500 fans visiting their 400,000 square foot open-air stadium in their opening season. They wanted to provide Wi-Fi access for guest use and team use, at their home field, Switchbacks Stadium. Colorado Springs partnered with Extreme Networks, who designed and implemented a strong and reliable Wi-Fi solution, offering equitable experience for every fan, regardless of where they may ultimately sit in the stadium.

Our collaboration with several other technology firms allows us to develop solutions for administration, security, analytics, UC, and mobility

Today, the Switchbacks enables live video streaming of the games in real-time allowing them to simultaneously engage with those fans, who are unable to be at the stadium. The administrative staff can better access wireless for administrative functions.

Focusing on cloud-managed wired and wireless networks, the company also offers ExtremeCloud, which is designed and optimized to take advantage of the elasticity, resiliency, and scalability provided via state-of-the-art datacenters distributed strategically for worldwide availability. ExtremeCloud supports both corporate and guest networks with role-based management for users, devices, and applications, enabling individualized experience.

Saint Xavier High School, one of the premier schools in the tri-state area, located just outside the city of Cincinnati, needed a network solution capable of supporting well-founded Wi-Fi access for their Apple TVs and 1:1 iPad program. When looking for a networking partner, St. Xavier sought for a vendor and a product that would also provide seamless wireless service to their 2,100 high school users and 10,000 stadium users. To accomplish this, St. Xavier implemented a solution from Extreme Networks that includes wired and wireless, network management and application visibility. “We decided that the complete network management solution offered by Extreme Networks was exactly what we needed based on how it was going to improve the education and the student experience,” said Ryan Collins, Director of IT at St. Xavier.

The all-inclusive solution leveraged by Extreme Networks included Summit Series switches and IdentiFi Wireless controllers and access points to ensure seamless wireless coverage at their sprawling high school and sporting stadium. Managed by Extreme Control Center and Extreme Identity and Access Control, which has been a tremendous help with the connectivity of the Apple TVs, teachers and students of St. Xavier enjoyed better collaboration. Besides reducing bottlenecks and improving connectivity, Extreme Networks gave the management the ability to view and manage networks from a single window. The implementation of Extreme Networks IdentiFi wireless solution provided centralized visibility and control over the network. Today, teachers and educators at St. Xavier focus on education and not on the technology.

Smarter Networks

Owing to strong expertise in the SDN arena, Extreme Networks designs networks with its flagship product OneController. The product is built on the OpenDaylight framework—a highly modular, extensible, and multi-protocol controller infrastructure built for SDN deployments—to offer simple, fast, and smart automation and orchestration of networks. By seamlessly integrating with multiple hardware and software networks, OneController protects customer investments with less vendor confinement.
Moreover, it ensures investment protection through backward compatibility, which runs across multi-vendor networks, while supporting the OpenFlow standard and other APIs.

"Building networks to offer exclusive experiences to our customers is our sole priority"

To keep pace with emerging security, wireless, and converged SDN infrastructure, Extreme Networks has developed its Software Development Kit (SDK). The kit is available to researchers, technology partners, developers, and customers for developing applications for SDN platforms. The SDK allows customers to understand SDN on the basis of performance, security, visibility, and compatibility around multi-vendor networks. In addition, the firm’s services bring a connection with third party applications, through its OneFabric Connect. It provides APIs to integrate OneFabric Control Center—NetSight, Mobile IAM, and Network Access Control—with other IT solutions, thereby providing deeper visibility into device data—augmented with asset information, device details, and phone numbers.

Extreme Networks’ SDN solutions have supported several clients in risk reduction for the entire network, including wireless, campus, and datacenter. For instance, Enfield, a suburb in Connecticut, needed a solution to make their network highly available, secure, and easy-to-use for the entire community. The town staff decided to implement Extreme Networks’ OneController to optimize network access and bandwidth control. It provided greater visibility and increased network security. “Eventually, the client improved operational efficiencies and enhanced user experiences with on-demand network access,” notes Meyercord.

Building Better Connections

Extreme Networks’ joint collaboration with leading technology innovators has kept its competition at bay and also initiated the development of unique solutions to address crucial tasks. “Our collaboration with several other technology firms allows us to develop solutions for administration, security, analytics, UC, and mobility,” acknowledges Meyercord. In addition, Extreme Networks’ team engages customers in all their projects, including direct necessities, clear standards of agreement, field backup and normal interchanges.

Extreme Networks has plans of enhancing its current portfolio of SDN solutions to match the future requirement of consumers. “We will be expanding our SDN platform and OneController to deliver proven integrated solutions to support the needs of enterprise-scale customers,” concludes Meyercord. It’s been over two decades, since Extreme Networks started a revolution by redefining networks with software and helping their customers build better connections. Going forward, Extreme Networks is working towards developing and adding to its current portfolio of networking solutions to address the future needs of consumers and maintaining their legacy. “We will continue to market innovative technology solutions, through our vertical enterprise go-to-market strategy,” concludes Meyercord. From classroom to the operating room, stadium field to the manufacturing floor, Extreme Networks has a solution for any environment and its confrontations and will remain to be the ultimate destination for organizations seeking highly efficient networking solutions in challenging environments.