Extreme Expands SDN Portfolio, Partnerships

The networking company is rolling out its new Summit X670-G2 top-of-rack switch and unveiling three new members to its technology partner program.


Extreme Networks, which in June unveiled a software-defined networking platform based on such open standards as OpenDaylight Project's controller code, is broadening its capabilities with a new networking switch and adding new members to its partner program.

The new products—the Summit X670-G2 top-of-rack switch and Purview Application Sensor—both comply with software-defined networking (SDN) standards put forth by the OpenDaylight Project, and are additional proof points to the contention of Extreme officials that the company offers the most open SDN platform on the market, according to Dan Dulac, vice president of solution strategy at Extreme.

"Our solution is completely open and standards-based," Dulac told eWEEK.

Extreme Networks put that stake in the ground in June, when the company joined the vendor-driven OpenDaylight Project, which is developing an open SDN framework that companies can build their SDN platforms on top of and hopefully accelerate the adoption of the networking technology among enterprises.

Soon after joining the group, Extreme introduced its platform, which includes controller technology—OneController—and a range of company products that includes NetSight for network management and Purview for application analytics. The platform also is tied together through the use of Extreme's networking operating system—ExtremeXOS—and is designed to interoperate with other vendors' networking infrastructures, according to company officials.

Dulac also noted that Extreme supports hypervisor technologies from VMware, Microsoft and Citrix Systems.

Now Extreme is expanding the capabilities within the platform. The new highly dense Summit switch offers 48 and 72 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports in 1U (1.75-inch) models and a latency of less than 600 nanoseconds, officials said. In addition, the company unveiled the Purview Application Sensor software, an appliance scaling application that is designed to make it easier to scale and deploy Purview analytics within data centers.

The Purview software leverages technology that Extreme inherited when it bought Enterasys Networks a year ago for $180 million.

Extreme is playing in an increasingly crowded and competitive SDN space that not only includes such top-tier vendors as Cisco Systems, VMware, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, but also a growing number of smaller companies that are looking for greater traction in the market. SDN and networks-function virtualization (NFV) are expected to enable enterprises and service providers to build more programmable, agile and automated networks by removing network intelligence from networking gear and putting it into software that can run on commodity hardware.

The market is expected to grow quickly. Analysts with the Dell'Oro Group said in a report last month that the SDN space will grow 65 percent between 2013 and 2014.

"The Ethernet switch market is undergoing a technological transformation in the data center, driven by changes in data center networking," Dell'Oro Vice President Alan Weckel said in a statement. "It is clear that, by 2020, data centers will look significantly different from today's."

Extreme expects to play an increasingly larger role in SDN as the market grows, Dulac said. A key to that will be the growth of its Technology Solution Partner Program, which includes such companies as Microsoft and Palo Alto Networks. The goal of the program is to develop open, flexible and high-performance networks leveraging Extreme's SDN platform, which along with the controller includes OneFabric Control Center and OneFabric Connect SDN API.

"To be considered a leader, you need mindshare," Dulac said. "To build mindshare, you need an ecosystem."

New members to Extreme's partner program include A10 Networks for application delivery control, Sanbolic and its software-defined storage solutions, and NetOptics IXIA for visibility into virtual traffic across most major hypervisors.