5 Ways To Make Money With The New Extreme Networks Partner Program

Unified Front

Extreme Networks has taken an unconventional route to becoming one of the biggest players in the networking space -- by acquiring an array of networking businesses from other companies and fusing them together. Extreme is bringing together networking technologies from Avaya, Brocade and Zebra with its own offerings to make a run at competing with the likes of Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. And starting Jan. 1, Extreme plans to launch a unified partner program for solution providers from all four companies.

"From what I've what seen, it's by far the most attractive channel program I've seen rolled out," said Rob Huff, CEO of Extreme and Avaya partner STEP Communications Group, during the Extreme Networks Global Partner Summit this week.

What follows are five of the biggest opportunities for partners to make money with the "new" Extreme Networks.

Automated Campus

Extreme Networks is now rolling out its Automated Campus solution that combines Avaya's secure fabric technology with Extreme's Management Center for improved visibility and control. The product, which is the first combination of Extreme and Avaya technologies, is a great starting point for Extreme partners and for Avaya partners that are looking to explore the broadened Extreme portfolio, Chief Marketing Officer Norman Rice told CRN in an interview. The product will allow Avaya partners to "get educated on Extreme Management Center," while enabling Extreme partners to "get educated on how the wireless works in fabric connect," Rice said. "For the Extreme partners, the majority of them understand the management center side, and software technologies. But they haven't really been exposed to the secure fabric story. And it's a key differentiator."

In particular, with Automated Campus, there are major opportunities for partners to "make money by implementing software, customizing the software, hosting the software, managing the software," Rice said.

Opportunities For Brocade Partners

Extreme is acquiring the data center solutions business from Brocade, meaning that Brocade partners that are coming over to Extreme are "very tech-heavy, and understand a lot of the intricacies of the data center," Rice said. "What we would expose them to first is the [Extreme] Management Center so that they can understand how that plays with some of the other things that they do in the data center.... For example, provisioning a job in a virtual environment, how does that show up, how can you manage it in Management Center?"

From there, Extreme is looking to expose Brocade partners to the campus switching offerings in the portfolio, Rice said. "So we'd want you to get trained on campus, data center, management, and get your data center automation master certification," he said. "On the campus side, with Automated Campus, we'd want you to get trained on campus access and then management, and get your certification there."

Advanced Access Points

So far, Extreme has been selling its own access points as well as Zebra's WiNG access points, which offer strong security and performance. Extreme CEO Ed Meyercord (pictured) pointed to WiNG as a key technology that's helping the company to compete with top networking players such as Cisco. Meyercord said that a "very large logistics company" that has half WiNG and half Cisco products on its wireless edge is "actively displacing the remaining Cisco with Extreme."

Meanwhile, a new Wave 2 access point that can run either the ExtremeWireless or Zebra WiNG platform -- dubbed "SuperSpec" -- is in the works, Rice said. "They're merging ahead of plan," he said.


A main emphasis in the revamped Extreme partner program is on cross-selling, as a result of so many new products coming into the portfolio through the acquisitions. For instance, a partner that's just been selling Extreme products can go back to existing customers with Brocade's data center solutions. "What I love about the Brocade side is that now we have a router play with Extreme," said David Rudnick, sales manager for Miami-based Extreme partner PC Solutions & Integration. "It wasn't an addition of products that interfere with each other. It's adding additional products."

The same goes for partners that had predominantly sold products from the acquired business units. "We're looking at this as a huge opportunity to grow. Avaya struggled with wireless, they struggled with management," Huff said. "Now we're able to go back into these customers and really expand our reach within our customers and cross-sell the portfolio."

Targeting New Verticals

Each of the acquisitions has broadened the set of verticals where Extreme is a strong player, according to the company. Zebra brings a specialty in verticals including retail and transportation, while Avaya and Brocade are both strong in the federal government space. Federal, in particular, should be an "absolutely huge" opportunity for partners, Rice said. In federal, "we never had a formidable portfolio for a partner to engage with Extreme" until now, he said.

Meanwhile, Huff said the WiNG access points are a terrific fit for the retail segment, and his firm is now aiming to do more business in retail. "It gives us the opportunity to really grow our revenues organically within our client base," he said.