Extreme Networks held a Webcast this week to provide information to customers and partners about the fate of Avaya’s networking portfolio ahead of the close of Extreme’s Avaya acquisition.
Extreme took pains to ensure Avaya customers that it was committed to Avaya’s networking products. Company representatives stated they would preserve the “natural life” of Avaya’s networking gear, and wouldn’t prematurely end any product or service. Those products include:
- Fabric Orchestrator
- Identity Engines
- VSP 9000, 8600, 8000, 7000, 4000
- ERS 5000, 4000, 3000
- Avaya Surge
- WLAN 9100
The company also pledged to offer 100 percent in-sourced support for Avaya products. Extreme said it plans to retain a majority of Avaya employees, and to cross-train Extreme and Avaya tech support teams to handle the combined product portfolio.
Extreme also said it would honor all warranties and professional services contracts, though warranties will be “mapped” from Avaya’s program to Extreme’s, so you may want to review that mapping to see how you might be affected.
It’s clear to me that Extreme has no plans to pull the rug out from its newly acquired Avaya customers and partners. But the use of the phrase ‘natural life’ raises two questions:
- What’s the ‘natural life’ of the products in Avaya’s portfolio? Three years? Five years? More?
- What happens when that natural life is up?
The executives on the call did not provide a specific timeline or offer possible scenarios. However, my impression from comments made in the Webcast—and this is just my opinion—is that in the long term, Extreme will rationalize its portfolio to reduce or eliminate duplicative products.
Why do I think that? Because of comments made about how networks constantly evolve and iterate, and how key technology inflection points on the horizon will create the demand for change.
In my mind, these comments were hints that Extreme wants the flexibility, over the long term, to dispose of or integrate products as it sees fit. That seems reasonable to me.
It also seems reasonable to me that Extreme doesn’t want to rock the boat. The company is acquiring around a thousand Avaya customers, and it has a significant financial incentive to keep them happy.
So what does this mean if you’re an Avaya networking customer right now?
Don’t panic. No goons in purple polo shirts are going to show up and start ripping out your switches. You can still get support and maintenance for products in production, and I’m sure Extreme won’t say “No” if you submit purchase orders for new gear.
Ask questions. Talk with your reseller and with Extreme directly. Share your concerns and pay attention to how they respond.
Have a plan. Make your own estimation of the “natural life” of the Avaya gear in your network, and use that as a rough timeline for when you might need to respond to potential changes from Extreme. Maybe research other options; it never hurts to have competing bids in your back pocket.
Extreme has posted an on-demand version of the Webcast if you’d like to see it yourself. Registration is required.