At the Enterprise Connect show, Extreme Networks is talking about its strategy around mobile computing and network infrastructures.
Extreme Networks in early February announced a line of mobile
Ethernet backhaul routers
designed to enable mobile network operators to
make the transition to 4G while also continuing to see returns on their
investments in 2G and 3G.
to Extreme officials, the routers were aimed at addressing the rapid growth in
the number of mobile devices in use and the mobile multimedia traffic running
through networks, as well as helping the network operators improve performance
and scale their networks.
also was an illustration of Extreme's growing focus on the mobile Internet, a
strategy that company executives are talking about this week at the Enterprise
Connect 2011 show, in Orlando, Fla., where officials also will be showing off
their mobile-networking products.
way Oscar Rodriguez sees it, the world is going mobile, a trend that will
simply increase the pressure on the IT infrastructure, in general, and on
networks, in particular. That means the network will have to become more
streamlined-collapsing into a single layer-and more intelligent, Rodriguez,
Extreme's president and CEO, said in an interview with eWEEK.
also means redefining what people are saying when they talk about mobility, he
is not about wireless," Rodriguez said. "It's about enabling mobility. Mobility
is about my expectations when I'm moving around, not just about wireless."
and business users have increasingly high expectations about what their mobile
experience will be, he said. They want to be able to access the data they need
from any place and on any device, they want their connections to be consistent
and fast, and they want this in a secure environment.
rivals such as Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks, Extreme offers a host of
networking products designed to help enterprises and network operators meet the
shifting demand for mobile computing. Rodriguez said that, going forward,
Ethernet will continue to be a key to meeting those demands.
Extreme, a major differentiator is its modular operating system, ExtremeXOS,
which is consistent across the company's networking portfolio. Among the major
networking vendors, only Extreme and Juniper-with Junos-offer their own
operating systems, which give their portfolios a level of consistency that
other rivals lack, Rodriguez said.
ExtremeXOS and its open APIs, the company can offer customization, security,
personalization and automation that others can't-all things that increasingly
will be in demand as mobile computing continues to grow, he said.
is the vehicle, but applications and the OS, and intelligence in the software,
will be the key difference," he said.
ExtremeXOS, Extreme offers a better user experience through the APIs for
greater network customization based on XML; security through such features as
Identity Manager to ensure that proper policies and controls are in place; automation
through a suite of ExtremeXOS-based tools that can dynamically manage connected
devices, power usage and network security; and virtualization management
through XNV, which enables the network to track virtual machines as they move
around the data center and ensure that that setting moves with them.
this will be important as data centers and networking infrastructures move
through the various phases that will be associated with dealing with the new
mobile world, Rodriguez said. The transition will move from the convergence of
wired and wireless at the enterprise edge-which includes increased awareness of
individual users and virtual machines-to adding more intelligences and control
into the network to create a more seamless user experience from the network
into the cloud and into 3G and 4G mobile infrastructures.
Extreme, the thrust will be around continuing to push high-performance Ethernet
into its hardware, and to increase the intelligence in its operating system.
The company also will focus on specific verticals, such as campuses and cloud
services, as it looks to compete with its larger rivals.
a smaller company, we can't be horizontal," said Rodriguez, who joined the
company in August 2010. "We've been horizontal for too many years. It's why we
want to focus on specific customer problems. . . . By focusing on these
verticals, we will get very good at [addressing their concerns]."
challenge for Extreme is also changing the way the industry looks at it, he
need to change the perception that Ethernet is just Ethernet, and that Extreme
is just an Ethernet vendor," Rodriguez said. "We are much more than that, and
Ethernet is. . .important for communications today."
sharpening Extreme's focus on the mobile world, the CEO also is looking to make
the company leaner and more efficient, including by cutting $2 million in
expenses through such moves as reducing the workforce by 5 percent, or by about
35 employees. In the last fiscal quarter, Extreme saw revenues of $85.1
million, a jump of more than $5 million from the same period a year