Extreme Networks unveils SDN strategy

Staff Writer

Extreme Networks yesterday announced a broad strategy to accelerate software-defined networks (SDNs) and standard protocols such as OpenFlow and Open Stack.

Key elements include an OpenFlow software module to help automate data center networks, a free network hypervisor that supports Citrix, Microsoft and VMware virtualization platforms, and a crowd-sourced marketplace for SDN applications called xKit.

Extreme has developed several SDN applications for its network operating system, ExtremeXOS.   Adding an OpenFlow software module to its operating system introduces higher levels of cloud scalability.  This module will help data center operators virtualize and automate their network operations, using Extreme’s Open Flow-ready network hypervisor called XNV.

The company also announced a go-to-market agreement with NEC of Japan.  Both companies have agreed to do interoperability work as well as to market and sell each other’s products. Extreme has specifically agreed to support NEC’s OpenFlow Controller. In the last 12 months, Extreme has announced similar support for OpenFlow controllers from Big Switch, NTT and Nicira.  

“Customers should be able to program their network like compute and storage apps,” said Shehzad Merchant, Extreme’s VP of technology strategy. “Extreme plans to use OpenFlow and other standard protocols to standardize SDNs as part of a larger strategy to create all-Ethernet open fabrics. We believe OpenFlow is  shaping up for networks what Linux represented to servers 20 years ago.”

Extreme will standardize OpenFlow across its entire product portfolio. In July Extreme will release an OpenFlow software module for all its products when it updates its Extreme XOS 15.2 operating system.  Extreme also will distribute a free network hypervisor called XNV that is OpenFlow ready and also supports virtualization products made by Citrix, Microsoft and VMware.

This month Extreme will introduce a virtual marketplace called XKit, which will allow customers and third-party developers to be a crowd-source for OpenFlow scripts and software-defined network applications.

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