Recently, Extreme Networks announced its global reseller partnership with Lenovo as well as its inclusion in the EMC VSPEX program. Both announcements highlight the ability to create integrated computing platforms (ICP) leveraging Extreme networking equipment. For more information on this, please see Mark Bowker’s Market Landscape Report, Integrated Computing Platforms. While the Lenovo and VSPEX announcements are technically separate entities, together, they mark what appears to be the beginning of an aggressive go-to-market approach from Extreme—both from a technology alliance point of view, and from a channel strategy perspective. Indeed, EMC has been partners with Lenovo for some time now and there will be synergies that Extreme can leverage.
Re: the Extreme Networks-Lenovo reseller alliance:
This part of Extreme’s announcement illustrates their ambition to go indirect, to attack new geographical markets (especially China), and to have a presence in the converged infrastructure landscape. Together, Extreme and Lenovo will rely on Lenovo’s expansive network of high-volume channel partners, which spans across over 60 countries.
ESG expects that combining the high quality networking components from Extreme, with Lenovo’s ThinkServers and Stoneware’s webNetwork (Lenovo owns Stoneware) and storage from EMC (Iomega), will render a cloud-ready, turnkey solution that should be able to stand alongside any other converged infrastructure offering.
Re: Extreme’s VSPEX validation:
This is a big opportunity for Extreme to be included in the VSPEX program (ICP reference architecture) and could open a lot of doors for Extreme. However, the incumbent switch vendors in the VSPEX program, Cisco and Brocade, have a long history with EMC and its partners, so Extreme has some work to do to gain a beachhead. It does offer additional choice for channel partners and Extreme would be well served to begin educating those channel partners on the value of the Extreme VSPEX solution.
An important undertone to both announcements is that Extreme Networks' networking solution is both OpenStack and OpenFlow enabled, so for the organizations currently contemplating and/or exploring SDN technologies, an Extreme switch is equipped to handle that. This will enable Extreme to talk about investment protection for future SDN capabilities.
Overall, we see this as a good move for Extreme, and it should open up new pathways for Extreme to increase revenues and become part of the rapidly growing ICP Market. It is not a slam dunk, however, as Extreme will have to make the appropriate investments in educating both the Lenovo and EMC channels, deliver a solid solution, and demonstrate real value. If they can do that successfully, they have an opportunity to significantly expand their market.