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The Power of Customer-Driven Network Edge Solution

Mike Leibovitz Senior Director, Product Management Published 15 Aug 2018

With the digital era changing the business landscape, IT and businesses leaders have no choice but to make digital transformation a primary initiative. According to ZK Research’s 2018 IT Priorities Survey, 89% of businesses currently have digital transformation initiatives underway, up from 84% in 2017.

Market leadership isn’t necessarily about price, perception of product quality or human resources anymore. Success among enterprises is largely determined by keeping pace with market changes and capitalizing on those changes more rapidly than competitors; agility is key to this initiative. Enabling agility relies on a technology component that is, historically, not particularly agile: the network edge.

  • Within three years, 70% of business applications will reside in public or private clouds. The quality of the network has a direct impact on application performance, and organizations who don’t modernize their networks will greatly struggle to keep pace, ZK Research predicts.

Clearly, the network edge has become mission critical. Here are the primary drivers for its criticality:

  • Applications are now networked.
  • The Internet of Things is mainstream.
  • WiFi has become pervasive.
  • The use of sensors and beacons have grown.
  • Security is shifting to the network edge.

“Today’s network edge should be thought of as the foundation for the digital enterprise, as it’s the place users, cloud applications and IoT devices connect to an organization. For most businesses, the network edge is the business. The legacy, static and non-differentiated network edge of years past is no longer sufficient. Businesses and IT leaders must focus on building a smart network edge.” Digital Transformation Success Requires a Smart Network Edge

Confronting the Limitations of the Legacy Network Edge

Here’s the overarching issue with the current model for the network edge: it’s a 30-year-old, legacy design built for best-effort traffic, with little consideration for user experience. Today, business success relies on application performance, and a poorly designed network edge will compromise performance significantly.

  • Workers are 14% less productive than they could be because of poorly performing applications (ZK Research 2017 Network Purchase Intention Study).

Did you know that businesses have the opportunity to double productivity by ensuring applications already in use are performing optimally? The problem is, the legacy edge is holding enterprises back and costing them money. Below you’ll find the main issues that keep the legacy network from becoming an enabler of business:

  1. Lack of innovation

    Limited innovation has occurred at the network edge the past few decades, besides gigabit speeds and PoE.

  1. Complicated and slow network operations

    Legacy edge infrastructure required each switch, access point or other edge devices to be configured individually. Businesses would often need to send network engineers on the road to visit remote locations to configure edge infrastructure in branch offices. The manual nature of operations causes long lead times for network changes.

    •      The average time to implement a change, network-wide, is four months (ZK Research)
    •      The top cause for unplanned network downtime was human error (ZK Research 2017 Network Purchase Intention Study).
  1. Lack of programmability

    Current infrastructure lacks APIs, which means custom scripts are required for applications and networks to interact.

  1. Poor visibility and analytics

    Management for legacy networks was device specific, making an end-to-end vie of network operations impossible and troubleshooting difficult. Further, data analysis was manual. Overall lack of visibility creates blind spots, like IoT devices deployed by non-IT individuals.

  1. Security challenges

    Legacy networks are secured by placing overlay devices, such as firewalls, at specific points at the edge or perimeter of the network. The challenge is traffic no longer enters an organization through a single point, so this approach to security isn’t effective anymore—cloud apps, IoT devices, mobile users and other factors have increased the network attack surface significantly.

    •      75% of security spend is focused at the traditional perimeter even though only 27% of breaches emanate from that point (ZK Research 2017 Security Survey).

How the Extreme Networks Smart OmniEdge Transforms and Modernizes the Network Edge

It’s evident that an agile, modern network is key to successful digital transformation, but what do enterprises need to do to achieve such a network? Transition from the legacy network edge to the smart network edge: the most influential change in networking in many years. A smart edge is designed for digital businesses, and it enables the network to function with the same levels of agility as other areas of IT.

Just a few features of the smart edge:

  • Pervasive intelligence
  • Intrinsic security
  • Automation of operations
  • Flexible Management options
  • Common configuration interface and workflows

Extreme Networks recognizes the need for network transformation and modernization, and that’s why we’ve developed the Smart OmniEdge Solution—we’re determined to enable enterprises to focus on innovation at the network edge. It enables enterprises to easily provision edge services with flexible consumption models and create a consistent, personalized experience across both wired and wireless networks, made up of the following components:

  • Addressing adaptability and delivering fast network changes with choice of cloud, premise or hybrid, all with common workflow and UI
  • Using AI/ML technology to automate network management, improving end user experience while decreasing workload on IT staff
  • Securing the network by implementing firewalls and application control at the Access point
  • Secure on-boarding of IoT at the edge with secure tunnels across the network
  • Simplifying the unified edge with intelligence with the integration of aggregation and edge switches
  • Including a complete complement of REST APIs to integrate third party applications, accelerating implementation of digital transformation.

You can achieve unmatchable competitive advantage by shifting to a smart network edge, and doing so needs to be at the top of the priority list; business success depends on it. To maximize the potential of network centric technologies, the network simply has to be modernized. It’s the only way to keep up. For more detailed information on why, read the full analyst white paper by ZK Research: Digital Transformation Success Requires a Smart Network Edge.

Interested in getting started on your journey to a smart edge? Extreme Networks is here for you. Connect with an Extreme Networks expert now, or call us at 1.888.257.3000.

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