Extreme Networks Midwest Roundtable

I recently attended the Extreme Networks Midwest Roundtable event. These types of small events are good to attend as they promote great technical discussions, company vision, and product road-maps. It also gives current customers a chance to speak up about what features we are looking for in new products. It also allows interested potential customers to interact with real world current customers.

Here are some thoughts that I captured from the guest speakers:

How much do we as administrators spend on just maintaining our current infrastructure? – Dan Dulac
How can we use IT to drive business outcomes? – Dan Dulac
Here’s a good one. Netflix sucks when I tried using it on xyz’s network, therefore xyz sucks. Brand perception is highly important. – Dan Dulac

These discussions lead into Mike Lebovitz talking about Extreme Networks “Purview”.
Purview is classified as an application intelligence device that allows you to see analytic data from your network.

purview layer 7 visibility

Purview Layer 7 Visibility

In a nutshell, you get layer 7 visibility across your entire network. Granted you will need a specific line of Extreme Network switches to use it, but if you currently use Extreme Network’s gear I can see this as being another really useful tool. I’m still waiting to see if you will be able to enforce bandwidth/traffic shaping policies to edge ports based on L7 traffic. Some environments out there can benefit greatly about knowing what’s being used on their networks which ties into answering some of Dan Dulac’s questions above. We would benefit from the ability to shape our traffic in our current environment. We currently use an Allot Netenforcer which works great. However, this device sits and enforces at the border of our network and will need a periodic hardware refresh from time to time. If we could leverage Purview with our existing Extreme Networks equipment and enforce closer to the edge ports that would be great.

A few side notes to add were that Extreme Networks will be moving to a unified OS which will be the current Extreme OS or XOS. For those of you who don’t know, Extreme Networks recently purchased Enterasys. I’m excited to see the product merging that’s currently going on. The Enterasys dynamic policy (L2-L4 dynamic ACL) features will also be migrated to the Extreme line of equipment that can support it. Extreme Networks will also be building upon Enterasys Netsight, which is what we currently use to manage our network gear.

Overall the roundtable was a pretty neat event. It’s typically held in the fall around the downtown Milwaukee area for those who are interested in attending next year.

Extreme Networks acquires Enterasys – Comparison

Its official, Extreme Networks has acquired Enterasys Networks. We have lots of Enterasys gear, so we were highly interested to know the path that would be taken after the acquisition. At first, I couldn’t help think if the acquisition was a play for Enterasys patents. However, that’s just pure speculation. We were informed by product management that all existing products would continue to follow the current end of support and end of life cycle, so that’s good news.

Overall, I think that the acquisition will be pretty positive. The current Extreme Networks profile was missing things that Enterasys offered such as their highly customized L2-L4 policy and NAC integration. Extreme also looks like they OEM Motorola wireless and Enterasys has their own wireless portfolio.

The biggest plus will be the extension of the switching/routing lineup. Enterasys had a small gap in their WAN solution. We discovered this when we were looking for a smaller port density WAN 1-10G BGP/OSPF capable router. Extreme networks fills that gap and I’m sure there are many more compliments that I haven’t mentioned.

Extreme Networks overview

The Summit x460 series would have fit the ticket as a smaller device we were looking for when we were planning to replace our old Juniper M7i tank. However, we ended up purchasing a few brocade icx-6610’s. This was a few months back before we heard of the acquisition.

Here’s the lineup of what the current offering looks like from a few vendors that would have meet our requirements at that time:

Vendor

Extreme Summit x460

Brocade icx-6610

Enterasys SSA

10/100/100BASE-T Ports

24 or 48

24 or 48

48

Max 10G

2 or 4 or 6 total (modules)

8 total (lic to unlock)

4

40G

2(summit stacking module)

4(stacking only)

na

Form Factor

Fixed/1RU

Fixed/1RU

Fixed/1RU

Stacking Support

yes

yes

yes

Redundant power

yes/hot swap

yes/hot swap

yes/hot swap

Routing – BGP4

yes (lic to unlock)

yes(lic to unlock)

yes(lic to unlock)

Each vendor may have more of a product lineup, for instance Enterasys does have a 1-Slot chassis S-Series that can provide more options. However we were trying to keep costs down and the move up to the 1-slot chassis increases costs. There are other vendors out there such as juniper, HP, and dell as well. Each has its ups and downs. The Enterasys SSA is built with custom ASICs and some other vendors typically carry the Broadcom chipset. Switching capacity was left out due to the fact that each vendor spec sheet may not compare equally. You can find more details with the links provided below:

http://www.enterasys.com/company/literature/s-ds.pdf

http://www.brocade.com/products/all/switches/product-details/icx-6610-switch/specifications.page

http://www.extremenetworks.com/libraries/products/MSComparisonChart_1636.pdf