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Thinking About Tomorrow

Bill Lundgren Director, Product Management for Cloud Operations and Architecture Published 15 Apr 2020

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here. It’ll be, better than before, yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.” –Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac

These words, first released in March 1977 by the British-American band Fleetwood Mac in their song “Don’t Stop”, have become prophetic for the cloud networking industry and Extreme Networks’ cloud operations team. As the product manager for operations and architecture, a day never ends where we don’t think about tomorrow and the exciting new capabilities we need to deliver. 

The future is here, and over the past several months the Cloud Operations team at Extreme Networks has been hard at work bringing ExtremeCloud IQ into the forefront of cloud management technologies. So, what have we been working on? 

For starters, cloud operations staff have been implementing 4th generation cloud services so that we can bring you even more capability in the coming months. 4th generation cloud is an application architecture consisting of containers and Kubernetes infrastructure, tightly coupled with microservices architectures and extensive orchestration platforms that create an environment for compute, operating system, and storage agnostic delivery of SaaS applications. 4th generation effectively allows us to run anything, anywhere, anytime we want, and scale it to limits that no other competitor can match.

While containers and Kubernetes aren’t all that earth-shattering, the OSS (operational support systems) we’ve bundled around the containers, and the orchestration and monitoring infrastructure we created certainly are. These systems create a synergy that allows ExtremeCloud IQ to burst out of its previous AWS hosting enclosure.

ExtremeCloud IQ now runs in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google (GCP), and Microsoft Azure!  We’ll be bringing an Azure-hosted RDC (regional data center) online in Dubai within 30 days!

We’ve also made strides in the ML/AI functions using our 4th generation capability. ML and AI are tricky beasts, as everyone seems to know that you have to “train” an AI engine, but what do you train it with? 

In order to train an AI engine, you must feed it valid knowledge on a subject, not just information. Knowledge is what happens when you apply information with analysis and experience. To create this, bits and bytes take an evolutionary path. 

ExtremeCloud IQ ingests petabytes of information daily across billions of diverse events derived from over 1 million managed devices. Those bits and bytes together form a pool of data that by itself is not all that useful. For data to become truly useful, we must first turn it into information. Pure, raw, information alone in the wrong context or not properly vetted can be problematic, as the current state of affairs of the world has proven. Our analytics engines process, sort, and filter all of the data to turn it into useful information that we can then convert into definitive knowledge about your network. With that that knowledge, humans as well as computers can then take decisive and well-informed actions, and actions are the ultimate goal from an AI engine monitoring and managing our networks.

In order for this evolutionary path to work by providing context, experience, and other correlation to the vast pools of information we collect, time must be on our side. To give us this insight, ExtremeCloud IQ now offers 90 days of history. We’ve also created custom vertical environments for our retail customers that will retain 13 months, allowing reporting across a year-to-year basis, and all of this at no additional costs or effort required by customers.

Most excitingly we’re also working on hybridizing the cloud. Despite our best efforts to calm the nerves of the cloud adversely through our architecture and the ISO27001 certification ExtremeCloud IQ possesses, we understand some organizations will always want to have a box they can see in their data center. This is why, coming later this year, ExtremeCloud IQ will be hybridized into a managed on-premises solution. The software and compute will run in your data center on hardware we’ll provide, while our Cloud Operations team operates, reports, and manages the instances and performs all of the updates. You get the velocity of cloud development with the comfort of knowing your data is in your data center.

All of this is possible thanks to a lot of hard work by some amazingly talented people in our cloud operations team, and this little thing we call 4th gen. Next time, we’ll talk about cloud flexibility and dive a little more into architecture. Now if you’ll excuse me until next time, I have to get back to thinking about tomorrow…

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