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Extreme Networks: Customers Want Alternatives to 'Distracted' Cisco, HPE

Extreme Networks has surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue.

Edward Gately

October 25, 2017

4 Min Read
Extreme Networks' Norman Rice III at the company's Global Partner Conference 2017

(pictured above: Extreme Networks’ Norman Rice III on stage at the company’s Global Partner Summit this week in Orlando.)

EXTREME NETWORKS GLOBAL PARTNER SUMMIT — With both Cisco and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) “distracted,” Extreme Networks is going to continue hitting the enterprise and quickly chewing up market share.

That’s according to Norman Rice III, Extreme’s chief marketing, development and product operations officer. He spoke during Extreme’s Global Partner Summit this week in Orlando, Florida. With more than $1 billion in annual revenue, Extreme now is the third-largest end-to-end network vendor, with 30,000 customers in 80 countries.

Rice-Norman_Extreme-Networks.jpg

Extreme Networks’ Norman Rice

“Customers want real alternatives and there hasn’t been a great option that’s end to end, from the data center out to the access layer — one unified management platform simplicity,” he said. “And they’re looking for that as the Internet of Things (IoT) comes online. With all these things coming together, we want to convey the power of the portfolio … the data and the data center coming together with the secure fabric from Avaya layered into the Extreme portfolio in terms of switching and wireless, all under a single pane of glass unified management platform. That’s the key to our technology proposition.”

Cisco, the No. 1 network vendor, is going through massive transformation, and is losing market share in switching and networking, Rice said.

“In the enterprise, it’s going to companies like us,” he said. “Cisco has a lot of focus on trying to support the service provider and the hyper cloud, and not focusing on the enterprise. We see that as an opportunity, and we’re in the right place at the right time with a completely enterprise-centric storyline, complete enterprise solution, No. 1 service and support.”

HPE, excluding Aruba, is evolving more toward becoming a services company than a traditional technology or networking company, Rice said.

“HPE is showing up more as a competitor than as a partner,” he said. “A partner may go in and sell a solution and HPE may come in and look to undercut the partner in terms of service.”

PhillyCom, a consulting and technology integration company serving Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, is a legacy Extreme partner. Tom Desilets, its president, said Extreme’s expanded capabilities will allow him to attract new customers that no longer are interested in Cisco or HPE.

“There’s a top 10 law firm in Philadelphia [that] has Cisco today, and in the customer’s words, he’s tired of paying CiscoWorks maintenance prices so he wants to replace his Edge first,” he said. “He had already brought in HPE, and he really wasn’t thinking about bringing anyone else in, and I positioned Extreme and I told him all the reasons why … so now we’re being entertained as a replacement for Cisco. We know that Cisco is …

… out and either HPE or Extreme is going to be the replacement. Had Extreme not made all of these acquisitions and not bolstered [its] combined market and market share, we wouldn’t be in the conversation.”

In terms of Extreme’s growth through asset acquisitions, Rice said there likely will be more as “we’re completely opportunistic.” It acquired Zebra Technologies’ WLAN unit and Avaya’s networking business, and its acquisition of Brocade Communications Systems’ data center networking business is expected to close by the end of the week.

“These were asset deals, acquiring assets, which is people, customers, technology from bigger organizations,” he said. “There [are] a lot of assets that look just like those three and they’re out there; they’re in bigger companies. There’s a lot of transition going on in markets, so we’re open to bringing more. We want to continue to build on the customer base, the technology base, and I think we can create more scale as a result of that.”

Combat Networks, a Canada-based telecommunications equipment provider, has been an Avaya partner and is becoming an Extreme partner.

“Extreme is bringing us an expanded portfolio on the networking side, which is a positive,” said David Patterson, Combat’s regional vice president. “As for how are we going to sell more and enhance our revenue in 2018 with Extreme, it would be some of the enhanced products that they bring to the table that we don’t have. That could be through Extreme Management Center, which is great because it is going to allow us to not only use that for Extreme solutions, but other heterogeneous environments as well. And then with the Brocade acquisition, that’s going to open up some new markets and some new clients to pursue.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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