Extreme Networks has announced the first practical fruits of its recent acquisition of Avaya’s networking technology with Extreme Automated Campus, which combines Avaya’s flexible Fabric Connect infrastructure with Extreme’s management technology and support services. The result is a fully automated fabric-enabled, end-to-end campus solution, extending from the core to the wired or wireless edge. Two new hardware platforms are now available, the VSP 8404C aggregation switch and the VSP 8600 core switch.
“This is Extreme’s first fully automated end-to-end campus solution,” said Seema Kumar, Director of Product Marketing at Extreme Networks. “The focus is on the introduction of consistent policy-based architecture from Avaya, and fully integrating it with Extreme’s technology.”
Fabric Connect is a mature technology with over 1500 deployments. Its Fabric Connect Customer Experience Research Report Fabric Connect reports 11x faster time to service, 7x faster mean time to repair and a 100 per cent reduction in outages due to human error. Its secret sauce is its ability to automate the core, with a single SPB [Shortest Path Bridging] protocol, and enhanced security, where hackers are unable to penetrate the core because they can see only the IP edge, with entry and exit points to the core.
“There is a lot of complexity in traditional networking,” said Camille Campbell, Product Marketing Manager at Extreme, who came over with the Avaya assets. “Fabric Connect really creates a dynamic flexible network architecture. In traditional networking, you have to provision every hop. Fabric Connect lets you do this by touching the edge of the network only. The result is that a lot of the changes can be done dynamically. You don’t have to wait for that change window, and can perform network changes very quickly. The integration of Fabric Connect into the Extreme Edge products now lets them participate fully in this next-gen technology.”
So why is Extreme placing such faith in the capabilities of a technology that didn’t exactly take the market by storm when Avaya had it? Fabric Connect, like some other parts of Avaya’s portfolio, had suffered in the market not because of the technology itself, which was first-rate, but because the go-to-market execution was lagging. Fabric Connect also had the disadvantage of being in the least important to Avaya of its three core business areas.
“Networking brought in the least amount of revenue to Avaya,” Campbell said. “There was always more of a focus on the other parts of the business. Networking is all of Extreme’s business, and they are totally focused on it.”
Campbell also stressed that Extreme’s own technology adds elements that the Avaya technology never had on its own.
“Extreme has been historically strong on analytics, control and management, and brings these pieces to the campus network,” she said. “Control on the policy side is exceptionally strong, with the ability to easily apply policies through a single pane of glass. Avaya had management capabilities, but what we found was that on the analytics and policies side, Extreme already had things that we had planned on the road map.” That includes a full 360-degree view of the entire network, as well as users, devices, and applications. Through Extreme Automated Campus’ management capabilities, centralized policies for as many as 200,000 users and devices can be created. Customizable signature sets exist for more than 7,000 applications. Open APIs also facilitate integration with third party solution providers to aid in third party alerts.
All this means good news for Extreme Networks’ partners – especially the legacy ones who were less familiar with what the Avaya technology can do.
“For these partners, this really is new and next-generation technology,” Campbell stated. “For the legacy Avaya partners, in addition to the new platforms, they finally get the advantages of being part of a top-tier networking vendor. In the networking world, size and scale really do matter.”