Extreme Networks: 'The Time Is Now' To Partner And Take On Cisco, HPE

Extreme Networks channel leader Gordon Mackintosh says the time is ripe for solution providers to join the vendor as it makes a midmarket enterprise push following its acquisitions of networking assets from Zebra Technologies, Brocade Communications and Avaya.

Mackintosh (pictured) said Extreme partners can move faster, become more profitable and face less channel competition compared to Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

"We aren't Cisco or HPE, nor do we want to be. We want to move with a lot of speed for our partners," said Mackintosh, senior director of Extreme's Worldwide Partner and Strategy programs, during a session in front of solution providers at XChange 2017 on Tuesday. "We believe a lot of vendors are becoming distracted since networking isn't as core to them as it was in the past. We are going to be in the number three position in the [enterprise networking] market … We're just now starting to field more and more RFP's. The time is now to get in on the action."

[Related: XChange 2017: Ruckus Launches New Program That Gives Partners A Free Wireless Controller]

Sponsored post

Extreme said it recently conducted a profitability study where it found Extreme to be 160 percent to 180 percent more profitable compared to some of its competitors.

"The reason for that is, there's not five or six Extreme partners fighting over every deal, nor do we want there to be. We're very careful to ensure that we don’t become over distributed," Mackintosh said. "There's lots of people selling the No. 1 and No. 2 vendor. There's less selling the No. 3, and that's us now."

Recent investments at Extreme include a revamped and simplified partner portal, a new e-learning training platform and an expanded global demand center.

John Samborski, vice president of Ace Tech Partners, a Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based solution provider, said he hasn't been an Extreme partner for years, but wanted to re-engage after hearing Mackintosh speak.

"I don’t really go after a lot of networking right now in the federal space, but I have contracts there where I can do it," said Samborski. " I'm looking for a mainline networking vendor I can get behind … I'm now very interested in Extreme after learning about all the networking [technologies] they've acquired."

Samborski said about 80 percent of his company is focused on the federal space.

"They're a serious player that will be considered a rival to Cisco and HPE and will be respected by my customer base, which is mainly federal. [Extreme] is one we'll definitely going to look at now," he said.

Within the past 10 months, Extreme completed its acquisition of Zebra Technology's wireless LAN business for $55 million, and Avaya's Networking business for $100 million. The vendor is also set to acquire Brocade's networking business for $55 million this fall.

"Partners are going to see customers asking for us a lot more in the forthcoming quarters and years," said Mackintosh. "So you're going to face the least [channel] competition in this space here and you're going to have more demand for our products."

XChange 2017, run by CRN parent The Channel Company, is taking place Aug. 13 to 15 in Orlando, Fla.