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Extreme Networks CEO touts open SDN strategy, robust wireless as key assets in changing net market

John Gallant | Feb. 25, 2015
Extreme CEO Charles Berger discusses Enterasys acquisition and integration, increasing demand for mobility solutions.

I want to go back to the first part of that question. When do you see rank-and-file corporate customers beginning to make the move to SDN?

I think things like our relationship with Microsoft Lync will help accelerate that. I am reminded of a breakfast we hosted with analysts last year at Interop. My final question was exactly the question you just asked. We got a range of seven to 10 years. I suspect if we asked that question [now] that range might be brought in a little bit but I still believe this is mainstream several years down the road. But customers want to know that they're buying from vendors who have a story that lines up with what they want to see happen with SDN.

What are the key market drivers that you hear when you're sitting with CIOs and other network buyers? What are the key things that they're looking for from network companies today?

I believe we have been citing a survey done by IDG that the number one thing that CIOs and heads of network architecture administration want is better visibility and better control of their network and, of course, beyond that the rest of their IT infrastructure - using that data to provide better solutions for their customers, their internal customers. [Using] Purview, we enable NFL [teams] to far improve their fan experience and, ultimately, a fan who is engaged in an application or engaged in communicating with the franchise and its vendors ultimately leads to more business. That starts with having visibility and control over your network. I think that is what people want to see mostly from SDN. If you look at our architectural block diagram we have sitting on top of XOS, our NetSight Network Management, again from the core of the data center to the access layer, providing visibility and manageability. Purview is providing analytics across that same span on application performance and application usage and our network access control. Embellishments of those key functionalities, I think, is where you'll see applications developing on SDN first and most pervasively.

Talk more about your Purview product. It seems like a bit of a Swiss Army Knife. It's security, it's management, it's business analytics.

Purview plays a number of roles for us as you point out. But really the biggest and most important role is allowing the venue or the enterprise to really understand, first and foremost, what applications people are running on their network and secondly, how well they're performing. I happened to be at last year's [2014] Super Bowl and the Purview data supported my user experience, which was that four out of six times I couldn't upload. I timed out before I uploaded what 85% of the people are on the network to do, which is a Facebook post or an Instagram post of a selfie or Bruno Mars from Row 200 so that all their friends know that they're at this status event called the Super Bowl. We surround Purview with other products like Network Access Control and NetSight for management. Again, I think those will migrate to SDN applications as SDN evolves over the next few years.


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