Extreme Networks announced last month the first integration of its recently acquired Avaya assets with Extreme’s own software and hardware.
Called Automated Campus, the release ties together Fabric Connect (Avaya’s network virtualization solution based on SPB) with Extreme campus switches and wireless APs. Extreme Management Center will serve as the management software.
The goal of Extreme Automated Campus is to extend the fabric’s virtual network into the campus, and then streamline the connection of devices and users into the fabric. As users and devices attach to the network, Extreme software can be used for provisioning, policy enforcement, and management.
Extreme Automate Campus is also part of a broader effort to begin combining the campus and data center portfolios it has acquired, as well as to cross-sell Extreme products to Avaya customers (and vice-versa).
Extreme Networks has upgraded several of its switches and APs to support Fabric Attach, the Avaya software that enables non-Avaya devices to join Fabric Connect.
Switches that support Fabric Attach will include the X440-G2 series, X450-G2 series, X870 series and others running EXOS 22.4 or later (see image below for the complete list.) Support is expected to be available in November.
On the AP front, Fabric Attach support will be available in October on four APs including the 3912. Extreme did not provide a date for Fabric Attach support for ExtremeWING APs, which the company acquired from Zebra in September 2016.
Back To Campus
After all the energy and effort that has been poured into virtualizing and automating data center networks over the past five or so years, the campus is now getting some attention.
This June, for instance, Cisco announced SD-Access, an ambitious initiative to bring more automation to the campus, including both wired and wireless networks.
Now Extreme is touting its own version of a more streamlined, software-driven campus.
One reason for all this activity in the campus is IoT. If this emerging trend lives up to the hype, a tidal wave of new devices are going to tie into WLANs. That means lots of onboarding, linking devices to policy framework, and monitoring and management. Automation will be essential in dealing with a multitude of IoT devices.
Another reason, of course, is that by targeting the campus for a makeover, vendors can sell their customers new hardware and software.
The First Test
Extreme has made no secret of its ambitions to buy its way to greater market share. In addition to Avaya, Extreme is also working its way through the acquisition of Brocade’s data center networking business.
The company is telling customers and investors a story about bringing together a best-of-breed conglomerate across the edge, the campus, and the data center, all of which will be tied together by Extreme’s software and customer support.
Automated Campus is the first real test of the viability of this proposition.