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End the Stagnation – Dynamic, Multi-Domain Network Orchestration

IT managers are able to manage most aspects of their personal life through a smartphone, but for their professional work they are forced to use multiple tools for each domain – access, campus, data center, and cloud networking.

The network manager still plays the old game of finding where end devices, not just phones, are connected. When something goes wrong or even simply when one more device connects to the network, the manager still has to use all the available skills to apply the right configuration to the connection point or to diagnose where the issue occurred. This task is further aggravated when security management of multiple operating domains is involved. The ability to have a single security policy across different IT domains, physical and virtual environments, storage and networks, is paramount to ensure smooth and secure and operations.

A typical enterprise network today is comprised of different vendors for different network domains. The multi-vendor, multi-solution conundrum presents customers with numerous challenges:

  • Use of multiple management toolkits
  • Lack of granular Layer 2 to Layer 7 visibility across the entire network
  • Disparate visibility data leading to lack of co-relation between toolkits
  • Extended time to trouble shoot issues

In addition to managing multiple vendors with various software applications, the introduction of other data center IT domains such as compute, storage and virtual environments makes the task of maintaining security and high levels of operational efficiencies a complex and herculean task.

Single Pane of Glass Across the Entire Network

At VMworld 2018, we’ll unveil the latest iteration of Extreme Management Center as our commitment to systems integration across IT domains. Extreme has approached this as a two-pronged challenge:

  1. Provide an automation and visibility application that can span across the multiple IT domains
  2. Deliver granular visibility across a mixed environment to make intelligent, well informed decisions.

We provide network and endpoint orchestration from the edge to the data center, across campus and public cloud. With security built in, this solution offers multi-layer security for cloud and virtual environments. These comprehensive capabilities are extended into other IT domains such as VMware vCenter Server, AWS Console, Google Compute Engine with APIs based integrations.

What this means to the customer is a single system and single paradigm to orchestrate network connectivity. A single view in Extreme Management Center can manage virtual servers, cloud instances or Wi-Fi devices and their connectivity to the network. Configuration requirements from vCenter Server are automatically imported into the network allowing automated workflows. The same connectivity is made to virtual servers or cloud instances.

Single Point of Integration to VMware Environments

Extreme Management Center offers a single pane of glass with a single data source for the state and inventory of the entire network. It also provides a single point of integration to third-party management software. This addresses the challenge of disparate management software and provides a single user interface for ease of operations, resulting in:

  • Total control over how users, devices and applications access the network
  • The ability to capture network and application analytics from the network and VMware solutions
  • A single pane of glass for comprehensive network management
  • Extends seamlessly across VMware environments and data centers

With ExtremeAnalytics we offer a powerful analytics tool that provides application layer visibility and performance management to thousands of applications including encrypted applications. Extreme’s Application Telemetry enabled network elements provide granular visibility into the application flows with the context of a user and location. Coming soon is a Virtual Sensor that extends the solution into VMWare ESXi deployments. Virtual Sensor integrates closely with VMWare virtual networks to gain application level insights into intra host and inter host traffic. ExtremeAnalytics pairs the datacenter application insights with application flow information from wired and wireless devices across the enterprise to provide a unique end-to-end view of application traffic. Customers typically use this fine-grained view of application and VM level traffic information to rapidly troubleshoot security issues, root-cause the performance deterioration challenges and optimize physical or virtual network configurations.

Policy Integration with VMware

Here is an example of our integration with VMware:

The VMware administrator will define Port Groups for a particular application (let’s say Security Camera Video Capture) within VMware’s vCenter Server and Extreme Management Center will connect via the APIs and obtain the relevant information. Extreme Management Center make sure the setup is communicated to all relevant switches and all VMs requiring the setup to receive the correct configuration.

The data center network administrator can assign the same port group security settings to the security camera made by a particular vendor, and when such a camera connects either wired or wireless to the edge network, the camera will be authorized to write its feed onto the video capture server in the data center securely and seamlessly. Later, if the data center administrator is required to archive the videos in the cloud, Extreme Management Center will provide the same level of security for the data from the data center to the public cloud.

And in all this process, we never had to know the port we are connected to perform the necessary actions, the setup belongs to the end system, server, mobile device, cloud instance, not to the port.

Ultimately, we know where things are connected, and are happy to share that data, among other valuable statistical and analytics information, to any third party that may require it.

Want to See for Yourself? Check Out Our Demos at VMworld!

All the above examples will be demonstrated at the Extreme Networks – VMworld 2018 booth. So, if you’re interested in a hands-on experience of how Extreme Management Center and Extreme Workflow Composer integrate with VMware environments, come visit our booth at VMworld!

Need more integration info now? Extreme Networks is here for you. Connect with an Extreme Networks expert now, or call us at 1.888.257.3000.

*This blog was coauthored by Ravindra Rao and Salvador Ferrer.

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