Extreme Networks Bears Fruit Of Enterasys Buy With New SDN, Network Management Solutions

Extreme Networks this week lifted the curtain on a new software-defined networking (SDN) architecture and management software that lets partners manage both Extreme technologies, and those gained through its Enterasys acquisition, through a single pane of glass.

The updated management software, called NetSight 6.0, is the latest step from Extreme to more tightly integrate its own gear with that of Enterasys, which it acquired in September for $180 million.

NetSight 6.0 is also part of the broader SDN architecture Extreme rolled out this week, which leverages a mix of hardware and software from the Extreme and Enterasys portfolios. According to Bob Noel, senior director of solutions marketing at Extreme, the new version of NetSight is the first to provide management for both the Extreme and legacy Enterasys technologies, and across both data center and campus environments.

[Related: Extreme, Enterasys Launch First Joint Product, Working On Partner Program Integration ]

Sponsored post

"[NetSight] 6.0 is the first iteration of a management capability that spans our entire portfolio now," said Noel, who joined Extreme when it scooped up Enterasys, where he was director of Global Channel and Field Marketing. "And we did that in five months, which is an amazing engineering accomplishment."

Noel said NetSight 6.0 is different from competing network management software in that it truly provides a single pane of glass from which customers or partners can manage all network hardware, regardless of its operating system or whether it came from the legacy Extreme or Enterasys lineup.

"This approach aligns very well for our partners, where they can have point products they can sell, whether they are [802.11]ac wireless access points or whether it's high-performance 100GbE [switches] in the data center, but tie it all together with software that unifies that architecture."

Bill Smeltzer, CTO of Focus Technology Solutions, a Seabrook, N.H.-based solution provider and Extreme partner, said network access control [NAC] and network management are two of the crown jewels that Extreme gained through its Enterasys acquisition.

"One of the things Enterasys always did well was network management -- and they did it very, very well," Smeltzer said.

NetSight 6.0, shipping this month, is the latest in a series of steps taken by Extreme to blur the lines between its own technology and the products it gained through its Enterasys buy. In February, Extreme unveiled Purview, a network analytics solution based heavily on Enterasys' CoreFlow2 ASIC technology.

Extreme and Enterasys partners largely cheered the merger when it was announced in September. The beauty of it, they told CRN at the time, is that there's minimal overlap between the Extreme and Enterasys customer bases or product portfolios. Enterasys, for instance, has a robust wireless and network management portfolio, while Extreme played heavily in data center switching.

Smeltzer said it's a combination that's already playing out nicely for partners like Focus Technology Solutions.

"Extreme customers are very loyal and Enterasys customers are very loyal, and I think those customers will remain loyal. I really do believe [the acquisition] gave them the best of both worlds," he said. "I do see one-plus-one, and I mean this sincerely, equaling three. I think there were just enough gaps in each [vendor's] portfolio where they are really rounding this out."

NEXT: Integrating Two Partner Programs

Extreme and Enterasys have roughly 700 and 1,300 partners worldwide, respectively, and Noel said the combined company is working now on integrating the two partner programs.

Other components of Extreme's SDN architecture include its OneFabric SDN Connect 2.0 solution, an updated version of its OneFabric software for automated network and application provisioning. What's new in version 2.0, Noel said, is out-the-box support for northbound integration with a variety of third-party technologies and applications, including those from VMware, McAfee and Fiberlink MaaS 360.

The architecture also leverages the Purview application analytics tool rolled out in September.

Noel said Extreme's software architecture is meant to simplify the management of the network so that partners and IT organizations can provide end users with the best possible experience, regardless of the device or application they are using.

"We believe that to deliver the experiences an end user requires in today's highly mobile, highly social world, you have got to have a unified software approach," Noel said.

Extreme also introduced this week a new 100Gbe module for its BlackDiamond X8 data center switch, and a new family of 802.11ac wireless access points called the IdentiFi 3800 series.