April 09, 2013

Bringing it Together with the Extreme Networks Open Fabric Edge

At Extreme Networks we focus on building the best Ethernet switches in the world. Our Ethernet data center architecture, the Open Fabric, reflects this approach by bringing together a compelling combination of open standards with high speed, low latency, low power, lossless, resilient multipath and advanced automation and scripting. An approach like this helps ensure that those who want to build a best of breed network can do so with confidence.

Open Fabric Edge

The Open Fabric Edge combines the attributes of the Extreme Networks open fabric with IT edge services.

The world is coming together over Ethernet. In the past different services ran on different networks. Just like there used to be a dedicated analog network for voice/PBX, video used to be the same way. Now we see a single, shared Ethernet infrastructure providing the connectivity for voice, video and data. It gets even better than that, though. It isn’t just data moving over Ethernet, increasingly it’s power for the end device as well in the form of Power over Ethernet (PoE, or its burlier cousin, PoE+).

Open Fabric Edge: Knocking Down Silos

The Open Fabric Edge is all about removing silos and 1:N Convergence

With an intelligent network, the edge is an exciting place. The edge is where services are done and the edge is where users and devices come in. For example, you probably want to assign different access rights to different devices.  An IP camera probably doesn’t need to see source code repositories nor is it likely a desk phone need access to payroll backend systems. Neither should be doing port scans and if they did both should probably be blocked from the network.

Speaking of physical security and IP cameras, having the ability to easily manage cameras, including cycling power via PoE/PoE+, is not only convenient but can result in considerable savings as camera resets no longer require truck rolls or climbing ladders as they can be achieved via an easy to use web interface. See screen grab, below:

Extreme Networks Chalet Interface

Extreme Networks Chalet provides an easy to use GUI to manage PoE/PoE+ and other physical security related issues.

But the Extreme Networks Open Fabric Edge is more about enabling things than blocking them. For example, we have partnered with Microsoft to help deliver the best possible user experience for their unified communications platform, Lync. Lync integrates well with Outlook/Exchange as you would expect from Microsoft. Lync 2013 even includes cool video codec upgrades, including H.264 SVC. Long and short of it is that this enhancement alone should allow for better quality video over roughly half the bandwidth.

Despite this more efficient use of bandwidth, the end user quality of experience is still dependent upon having a good network underpinning all the magic happening on various servers and endpoints. That is where we come in. With low latency, low jitter and no lost packets, we provide exactly the quality foundation upon which a good unified communications system can be built.

Same thing for BYOD and Wireless. We have a sophisticated architecture that eliminates controller backhaul bottlenecks. This means better performance and scalability but we still don’t sacrifice our commitment to open standards or cost effective performance. Our wired switches operate just as well with access points from other vendors, not just Extreme and we offer an onboarding portal solution via partner CloudPath.

Another system for locking in the right kind of QoS for sensitive applications is AVB – audio video bridging, a system originally developed to help free the Pro A/V community from the tyranny of the analog cable rat’s nest.  With AVB enabled, houses of worship, concert halls, theaters and other venues are no longer forced to build multiple networks, they can now run everything over a single Ethernet infrastructure. The traffic that needs to be protected and delivered with very strict timing, is, while that which is not critical happens best effort.

In the end, it’s all about breaking down silos and making the most of your network. One way to cope with budgets that are not growing and demands that are is to do more with less and one way of doing that is to run additional services over a single Ethernet network and that is exactly what the Open Fabric Edge is all about.

Want to learn more?

Extreme Networks Open Fabric Edge Press Release

Extreme Networks Open Fabric Edge Landing Page

Extreme Networks Open Fabric Edge White Paper

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Extreme Marketing Team

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