Networking vendor Extreme Networks is holding its user event, Connect, this week in Berlin, Germany.
At the conference, the company announced ExtremeCloud Edge, which brings Extreme’s network management capabilities to the network edge. This includes network operations as well as analytics, AI-infused functions, and networking applications. Like most network vendors today, Extreme offers cloud management via its Cloud IQ portal.
For customers that prefer to keep the management functions on-premises, Extreme has a private cloud version of Cloud IQ as well. Now the company has added an edge option, which I believe makes them the first to offer this type of solution.
Also see: What is Edge Computing?
Edge Addresses Latency and Data Sovereignty
The use case for management at the edge is for organizations with latency-sensitive requirements, the most obvious of which is artificial intelligence. AI is becoming a bigger part of network operations, and customers can run Extreme’s AI application, CoPilot, from the edge.
Not all customers would need to do this, but customers such as retailers who need to make real-time decisions about the network could benefit.
The other advantage of running from the edge is data sovereignty, which has become a more significant issue in Europe since the war in Ukraine began. Running network operations from the edge allows customers to benefit from a cloud operating model while keeping data in the country.
ExtremeCloud Edge will be made available in the summer of 2023 for select partners and includes ExtremeCloud SD-WAN, Extreme Intuitive Insights, and the previously mentioned ExtremeCloud IQ. The rest of the company’s application portfolio will be made generally available (GA) in early 2024.
The company also plans to make the platform available to certified partners for ecosystem solutions. The edge would be ideally suited for applications such as IoT management, video analytics, and retail operations. Extreme has a large footprint with sports teams through partnerships with the NFL, NHL, MLB, and other organizations, and stadium analytics would be another good use case for analyzing network data at the edge.
Also see: Top Edge Companies
New Hardware Platforms Announced at Extreme Connect
In addition to ExtremeCloud Edge, the company announced several new network products, including the following:
The is a low-power, small form factor Wi-Fi 6E Access Point designed for environments where power consumption is an issue. The AP draws only 13.9W of power, significantly lower than the 25-30W many APs take today. This means companies can power the APs with PoE (15W) instead of upgrading to PoE+ (30W). The device has the option for external antennas with an extended temperature range, making it suitable for freezers or in hot climates.
7520 and 7720 Universal Switches
These new products are for a high-performance network core or aggregation point. The former is designed for 1/10/25Gb server and top-of-rack (ToR) deployments within data centers and wiring closets. The latter lets customers address higher-speed core switching needs with up to 32×100 Gb ports. It can consolidate up to eight different aggregation and core switch lines from previous generations into a single family.
Extreme 8820 Switch
The is a high-density, fabric-enabled switch for large-scale environments. The new switch brings Extreme’s Universal Platforms to large enterprises and service providers and can be used in a data center as a border leaf or spine switch. The 8820 will be available as 40 x 100GB or 80 x 100Gb (QSFP28) configurations, with the ability to split to 4 x 25/10Gb, resulting in either 80 x 40Gb, 144 x 25Gb, 144 x 10Gb. Or, with the 8820-40C, it splits to 40 x 40Gb, 72 x 25Gb, 72 x 10Gb configurations
Universal Hardware Gives Customers Choice and Minimizes Risk
Extreme’s Universal Hardware architecture enables customers to purchase one set of hardware but then have flexibility in how the switches are configured and managed.
For example, a customer could choose initially to run the network in a traditional networking mode with on-premises management to minimize disruption to the business. At a later date, once the company has tested the fabric operations, they can switch to that model and even migrate to a cloud-managed solution without having to replace hardware. This lets customers evolve the network at a pace they are comfortable with.
For more information, also see: Understand the Differences Between 5G, WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E
Bottom Line: Catching Its Stride
Extreme has caught its stride over the past year. The company went through an aggressive acquisition strategy where it rolled up network assets from Avaya Networking, Brocade, Aerohive, and others. This created many challenges as the company looked to rationalize the portfolio and consolidate software platforms while shifting to a cloud management model.
The pandemic also created a problem as supply chain issues created a large backlog in sales, but the past 12 months have seen the company execute consistently, leading to an uplift in stock price. With much of the messy work behind it, Extreme can focus more on innovation, much of which is on display at Connect Berlin this week.