Extreme Connect 2019 Has All The Right Elements For Its Customers

This week Extreme hosted customers for its second annual customer event, Extreme Connect. Reflective of its own growth, conference attendees doubled in size this year and that was evidenced by its packed keynotes and technology breakouts. The theme for this year’s event was #FutureForward.

It was great to see that despite growing revenues to over one billion dollars, Extreme is still very focused on being customer-driven and dedicated a lot of time at the event listening to customers. President and CEO Ed Meyercord emphasized how their growth was important to scale innovation and discussed the importance of customer intimacy. Chief Revenue and Services Officer Bob Gault reiterated this during his time on the main stage with a number of customers highlighting their success with Extreme products. Bob stated that the new Extreme is a “big company with a small company approach” and is relentlessly focused on the customer.  

Headline News from the Event

The big news from this year’s event is ExtremeElements. These are a combination of software, hardware, and services that can be mixed and matched to create custom solutions for specific workloads and industry verticals. Leveraging a familiar theme of the periodic table, ExtremeElements are the building blocks for a new era of networking Extreme describes as the autonomous network.

extreme-elements

The elements are comprised of components from Extreme’s existing Smart Omni Edge, Automated Campus, and Agile Data Center solutions, as well as Services and Partner solutions. Its messaging reflects the need for both the human and AI intelligence elements, as well. And while the real periodic table rarely adds new elements, I would expect the ExtremeElements table to refresh and/or grow significantly over the next 18 months with new or updated product and ecosystem announcements. The goal with this approach is to offer organizations a simple model to help embark on a transformation journey to autonomous networking one building block at a time. This allows for organizations to proceed at their own pace and on their own path relevant to their specific industry. Extreme stated that their approach provides multi-vendor support as part of an open and standards-based ecosystem.

Extreme also announced a new IoT security and threat mitigation AI tool named Extreme AI Security. Considering that ESG research shows that 36% of respondents already have an IoT initiative underway and that their top challenge is device security, this offering is well timed. This solution will provide real-time monitoring of IoT devices for any anomalies, and then, once it detects any, automatically perform remediation to contain any threat before it impacts the entire network. Extreme claims it does this effectively by leveraging deep network visibility and traffic analytics combined with machine learning to find and eliminate threats. Extreme stated this sophisticated solution is simple to deploy, utilizing zero touch and zero configuration. The solution also takes advantage of behavioral monitoring and baselining to understand “normal” behavior quickly and is self-learning. A big part of this learning is accomplished via advanced machine learning algorithms and natural language processing. It can leverage ExtremeAnalytics to obtain granular visibility and then present it back in multiple different views according to users’ needs. It can also be integrated into a number of different IT and security solutions

Recognizing the importance of the Human Element, Extreme also announced it would extend its popular Dojo training classes to its customers, opening new opportunities to learn new skills and help drive transformation.

Looking to add value to the branch, Extreme launched the Extreme Access Platform (XA) with Fabric Connect VPN. This solution enables Extreme users to extend segmentation from the campus to the branch. Extreme also claims that by taking advantage of available open source optimization software, it has enabled organizations to dramatically reduce network bandwidth by as much as 70-90% in tests for health care images and web traffic respectively.

The last few years have been a pretty exciting ride for Extreme as they have achieved rapid growth via significant acquisitions and have been working diligently to integrate the technologies and drive innovative new solutions. At this year’s Connect, we witnessed the unification of the brand and a glimpse of the significant innovation to come (70% of the portfolio is slated to be refreshed in the next 18 months) with new security and branch solutions. It is extremely difficult to predict future success with any certainty, but if Extreme can continue to focus on the customer with programs like Elements, deliver innovative solutions like AI Security, and execute with its channel partners, it is a good bet that next year's Connect will be even bigger and better.  

Topics: Networking