Extreme Networks CEO: ‘Explainable AI’ Will Rival Competing Network Management Tools

The networking giant shared two new product offerings at its annual user conference: a public beta of CoPilot, a subscription within the ExtremeCloud IQ platform and the Extreme 9000 switch series, featuring the Extreme 9920 intelligent network visibility platform for packet filtering.


Following a record-breaking year of cloud growth, Extreme Networks took to its annual user conference to share two new product offerings for enterprises, channel partners, and the increasingly-important service provider segment.

The networking giant on Wednesday announced a public beta of CoPilot, a subscription within the ExtremeCloud IQ platform that will provide “explainable” AI to help enterprises identify and solve complex IT issues. Extreme also unveiled the Extreme 9000 switch series for service provider customers, featuring the Extreme 9920 intelligent network visibility platform for packet filtering.

ExtremeCoPilot, a new software feature part of the ExtremeCloud IQ platform, is an automation capability that can help businesses and partners execute time-sensitive tasks and monitor highly-distributed network environments, while still 99 percent “false alarm free,” the company said.

Sponsored post

By “explainable” AI, Extreme means that unlike some competing AI offerings on the market, the vendor won’t be bombarding enterprise IT teams and channel partners with alerts on their complicated networking issues, Extreme Networks’ President and CEO Ed Meyercord told CRN.

“There’s a lot of AI tools that were put into the industry early that were generating a flood of alarms. In fact, people were having to turn the tools off because of the volume of alarms that people were getting. In this case, We’re focusing on unique insights into the network that come from our machine-learning algorithms,” Meyercord said.

[Related: Extreme Networks CEO: ‘We’re Calling For Double-Digit Growth’ In Enterprise Cloud Networking]

CoPilot subscribers will begin to see individualized alerts and personalized recommendations within the ExtremeCloud IQ dashboard beginning in June. Extreme will also gather feedback during the public beta, which will help improve CoPilot’s ability to recognize legitimate issues and strengthen its AI actions with human intelligence. Right now, CoPilot will be able to tap in to Extreme’s more than 1.6 million connected devices sharing data in its cloud to help solve networking problems, Meyercord said.

New CoPilot features will be generally available following the public beta in late 2021, according to the company. Extreme will start billing for CoPilot in the first half of 2022. For Partners, CoPilot will be another avenue of recurring revenue, Meyercord said.

Extreme partners have been leaning on the cloud and the subscription licensing model as a way to support customers and build managed services practices over the last year, Meyercord said. In fact, Extreme’s new cloud subscriptions have grown more than 100 percent year over year with the majority of that growth being driven by the channel, he said.

“Part of what cloud does is it’s simplifying the complexity of networking, and then for partners, it allows them to manage many different customer environments and support a higher level of managed services,” he said. “Our cloud has gained significant momentum and we’ve seen huge growth.”

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant also took it its annual user conference to introduce the new Extreme 9000 Switch Series with the 9920 platform; the next generation of packet broker technology, Meyercord said.

The 9000 Series provides full network visibility and a composable data pipeline, which will let service providers quickly adjust to the expansive data and bandwidth requirements of 5G network architectures, without constantly replacing infrastructure, according to Extreme. The Extreme 9920 visibility platform can provide scalable traffic aggregation, packet filtering, replication, and advanced network packet processing for analytics tools in distributed network environments, the company said.

The Extreme 9920 visibility platform will be generally available in June 2021 to service provider customers.

While Extreme counts service providers as less than 10 percent of its customer base, Meyercord said that this segment is slated for great growth once 5G deployments become more mainstream.

The Extreme 9000 switch series and 9920 platform will not initially be available through Extreme’s channel. Meyercord called the service provider space “a big opportunity” for the company, but said Extreme will continue to build on the platform and develop use cases better suited for large enterprises and the channel.