Extreme Networks CEO: ‘We Are The Little Guy’ That’s Moving Ahead Of Cisco
The networking specialist is smashing records and beating out the ‘largest player’ with its simple licensing structure for its entire cloud networking portfolio that is turning heads of partners, customers and, even, Gartner, Extreme Networks CEO Ed Meyercord tells CRN.
How has Extreme’s recent cloud growth catapulted the company into a leadership position?
The momentum continues at Extreme. [First-quarter 2022] was unprecedented in my seven years as CEO and then 12 years as a board member. We had an incredibly strong quarter led by cloud [and] subscription, and that’s really top of mind for our enterprise customers. Cloud in the networking space is the fastest-growing segment of our industry. In the distributed world that we live in now, this idea of enterprises supporting their workers, their patients, their students, wherever they are, has really taken hold. We’ve never been in a better position to support our customers and partners in a leadership role that we are in now. What played out in the quarter is more interest in Extreme as a leader in cloud. The market-share data that came out showed that Extreme is the second-largest cloud provider that has a cloud-native infrastructure. It’s different than [Cisco] Meraki. Our AI, machine learning and all the data required to drive the intelligence from a network puts us in a really good position because it’s all about the data. Our cloud is the No. 2, but we’re bigger than No. 3 and No. 4 combined. So, we’ve got real differentiation in terms of scale of our cloud and the scope of our software solutions, and then all the goodies, if you will—the services that we’re delivering with our [cloud management platform] ExtremeCloud IQ. Cloud has become an essential ingredient in terms of the formula of how we’re going solve for [distributed environments]. People are coming to Extreme and they want to hear from us, and we’re converting more and more of these conversations into business and into new customer relationships—all of that just played out in spades this quarter.
So, from our standpoint, despite a constrained supply chain, we hit our numbers and beat the street. From an earnings perspective, we’ve posted year-over-year revenue growth of 14 percent, which makes us the fastest-growing player in the enterprise space, driven by 54 percent growth in our cloud recurring revenue, and that really just showcased this phenomenon of people finding out about Extreme. Enterprise customers that haven’t been in touch with Extreme for a while are being, I would say, surprised and really impressed about where we are today. Our batting average is going up and we are winning more and more business. Behind the curve is this backlog. At the end of Q4 earnings, we had built up a backlog of $100 million, which was an all-time record. And then just during the September quarter, we added another $100 million of backlog. And, by the way, we’ll add yet more backlog this quarter just because of the strength of the demand.