Extreme Networks on Oct. 9 raised the bar on the low end of the LAN switching spectrum with the launch of a new family of low-cost switches and a new automation framework.
The new Summit X150 Value Edge line of fixed configuration switches delivers greater support for security and convergence at the edge of the enterprise network and adds new scripting modules that can lower the operational overhead of deploying and maintaining the edge switches.
The Summit X150 24- and 48-port 10/100 Ethernet switches include "advanced security and convergence features at a price point that competes with the value portion of the [low-end switch] category," explained Scott Lucas, senior director of solutions marketing at Extreme, in Santa Clara, Calif.
"It helps to prepare for future applications [such as voice over IP] without risking the need for a refresh. The alternative from competitors is to buy cheap but then risk having to rip and replace later to support new applications," he added.
Although Extreme competes primarily with Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packards ProCurve unit, it is also raising the bar for typically low-end competitors, said Jon Oltsik, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.
"Extreme throughout its history has put more intelligence at the [networks] edge. Now with cost advantages they can go down in the market and attract someone who would buy a D-Link or Netgear or even HP switch. What theyre saying is you dont have to pay a lot, but you can get a lot," said Oltsik.
In a nod to ProCurves lifetime warranty on its switches, Extreme also with the Summit X150 series introduced a lifetime limited warranty with advanced hardware replacement. The warranty includes fans and power supplies and remains in effect for a full five years after the end of sale of the switch line, Lucas said.
The automation framework offers a small but growing library of scripting modules that can automate repetitive deployment, operational and optimization tasks.
On the deployment side, Extreme added a pair of new scripting modules for its edge switches. The new Best Practice Module can help configure management interfaces, establish QOS (quality of service) parameters and baseline VLANs (virtual LANs) to segment the network. The new Voice Grade Network Module can help to configure more sophisticated QOS parameters and detect IP handsets in the network.
On the operational side, a new Power Conservation Module can be used to automatically turn off POE (power over Ethernet) in the edge switches at pre-defined times of day to lower energy usage and improve WLAN (wireless LAN) security.
To read more about Extremes scripting modules, click here.
It joins an existing IP Handset Provisioning module that discovers IP handsets from Avaya, Cisco, Nortel, Mitel and ShoreTel and configures the network with pre-defined policies for handling traffic from those devices.
For Extreme core BlackDiamond switches, Extreme added three new optimization modules to the automation framework that address security.
One of the modules can identify and mitigate broadcast storms brought on by denial-of-service attacks; another can identify a route thats down or detect an IP address sweep from hackers looking for unprotected hosts.
If it detects such a sweep, it can automate mitigation measures such as shutting down a network port. The third optimization module, the new Reconnaissance Module, helps protect against TCP-based scans.
Extreme will supplement the modules, which can be custom-modified, with professional services aimed at creating new modules or modifying existing modules.
The Summit X150 switches are available now for $995 for the 24-port model, $1,495 for the 48-port model and $2,195 for the 24-port POE model. The new automation modules are available for free with ExtremeXOS switches.
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