How We Used Extreme Technology to Refresh Our Own Global Network

Lisa Yeaton Specialist, Content Marketing Published 31 May 2019

Extreme Networks is growing quickly and as we expand new locations are popping up around the globe left and right, all while we’re launching several new, advanced network technologies into the market.

With all the change and expansion, you can imagine that keeping all our locations, departments, employees, partners, and customers connected has become a massive undertaking. That’s why I took the time to sit down with our Network Operations Manager Larry Baker and discuss the network transformation IT is rolling out company-wide.  

“As a result of our recent growth, the time came to tackle our own network refresh. With exponentially increasing endpoints, more end users, and greater geographic disparity, a few objectives were on the to-do list, including increasing bandwidth, deploying Extreme Fabric Connect, and optimizing the campus environment.”Larry Baker, Network Operations Manager, Extreme Networks

Larry and our IT team set out on a quest to refresh Extreme’s global network infrastructure with Extreme technology so that employees, partners, and customers can stay connected in offices and our services teams can deliver superior outcomes.

A Closer Look into the Extreme Network Environment

Expansion at Extreme has been pretty intense over the last few years. After three acquisitions in an 18-month period and numerous product launches that change the way businesses use the enterprise network, the needs of our own users shifted. The only way to keep up with changes in the company would be to upgrade to Extreme Fabric Connect across the entire environment.

We needed to deliver on a few outcomes. First, seamless Wi-Fi and access for 3,500+ users across the globe. Next, we’d need to enhance operational efficiency and optimize traffic flows. In addition, implementing Extreme Fabric Connect to cover all locations would be critical. Finally, the team wanted to make sure they had network performance and Wi-Fi usage analytics in place.

Here’s what our network environment encompasses:

  • 41 managed locations and growing
  • 27 countries
  • 5 network engineers
  • 3,500+ users
  • 17,000+ connected devices at peak usage

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This Extreme on Extreme implementation would be the real test of our solutions, and an in-house experience deploying our products, firmware, and software without affecting users.

“We envisioned one massive network encompassing the entire globe. This project was a question of: How do we use the Automated Campus portfolio and Extreme Fabric Connect in particular, along with our own suite of products, to improve day to day operations?”- Larry Baker, Network Operations Manager, Extreme Networks

Extreme Deployment Fosters Human Connections and Better Business Outcomes

Here at Extreme, we’re in the midst of our own digital transformation, just like our customers. Looking at ways to drive operational efficiencies and deliver business services faster and more efficiently led to refreshing our own network. Extreme Fabric Connect allows us to deliver new services quickly; our technicians simply configure at the edge, the new service maps itself to our core without anyone touching a device, and it’s done.

Extreme Fabric Connect is unique in how easy it is to set up. Once the project began, the runway for deployment was fast and efficient. In fact, joining three of our U.S. campuses to the Fabric Connect network will only take 15 minutes. At present, five out of 12 Fabric Connect deployments are complete, and IT is in the midst of deploying it across all of our global locations.

As a result of what we’ve done so far, the organization has enjoyed a 25% increase in network speed and zero hardware failures. Physical installation time was reduced by 25%, while configuration time was reduced by 50%. Our worst-case failure, during failover testing, was a single lost packet—a disruption so minimal, the user didn’t even notice. This is a significant improvement in comparison with previous disruptions ranging from a 5-10 seconds before the network would reconverge around a link failure.

In addition, we’re able to use ExtremeAnalytics and ExtremeControl for real-time and historical troubleshooting, while Extreme Management Center delivers workflow automation and increased ease of use.

“We weren’t going to deviate from the Extreme validated design we’re telling our own customers about. They need to know that we’re saying, ‘this is how you should deploy it,” and that this is how we are deploying it today.” – Larry Baker, Network Operations Manager, Extreme Networks

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