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Consolidation has been a constant in the networking industry almost since its inception, but something interesting is happening right now. The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a useful measure for tracking activity among the leading vendors in the space, and there has been a noticeable shift in the past year.
If we compare the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure Magic Quadrant, we see that Extreme Networks has made the biggest progress of all the main vendors, breaking free of the challenging pack. In doing so, it has gained ground on market leaders HPE and Cisco, who Gartner believes have stalled in the past 12 months.
How has Extreme made these gains? By executing an acquisition strategy designed to buy innovation. Over the past year, this focus has propelled it towards the top of the networking food chain.
Extreme made three significant acquisitions including Avaya’s networking business and Zebra’s wireless LAN division—now to be known as Extreme WiNG. More recently, the company also announced its intention to buy Brocade’s switching, routing and analytics business for data centres, a deal that is currently being finalised. All three acquisitions give Extreme assets, expertise and knowledge to compete at the very highest level.
In a recent interview, Extreme’s CEO Ed Meyercord explained the strategy, describing Extreme as “a pure-play networking company”. He believes this singular focus on end-to-end wired and wireless networking makes the company best positioned to provide an alternative to other vendors. Extreme is taking a software-driven approach that will make it easier for organisations to deploy end-to-end networks, while having total visibility and control of that infrastructure.
As networking increases in complexity, customers are looking to reduce their pool of providers. That is what Gartner concluded in its briefing with the latest Magic Quadrant, and it echoes what Agile Networks has been hearing in the market. Customers already using Extreme Networks infrastructure can now avail of a larger portfolio of products with which to build a better solution, from a single vendor.
“As networking increases in complexity, customers are looking to reduce their pool of providers. That is what Gartner concluded in its briefing with the latest Magic Quadrant, and it echoes what we have been hearing in the market”
The CEO also said the company would not pay a high price for a “shiny object start-up”, preferring a business with good partner and customer relationships, and “interesting technology” that fits into and enhances Extreme’s portfolio. This suggests the strategy is squarely focused on buying established technology rather than unproven, ‘bleeding edge’ kit. That is reassuring for customers looking to make long-term bets on solid, dependable vendors.
Extreme Networks has a highly rated customer support organisation; as such, it understands the importance of collaboration in creating a network that helps organisations achieve their business outcomes. As its Irish partner, Agile Networks is well placed to listen to customer goals and challenges, and apply the newly expanded Extreme portfolio to creating the network those organisations need, from Avaya to Zebra and all points in between.