Extreme Targets Big Data Market With New Summit Switch, SGI Partnership


While most networking vendors focus their R&D efforts on software-defined networking, Extreme Networks is targeting another buzzed-about IT trend: big data.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company has expanded its lineup of Summit top-of-rack switches with the Summit X770, a switch Extreme says is purpose-built for big data analytics applications.

Extreme also revealed Monday a new partnership with high performance computing (HPC) vendor SGI, whereby Extreme will be SGI's "select networking partner," providing its Summit switches for use within SGI's Clusters for Hadoop big data platform.

[Related: Extreme Networks To Buy Enterasys For $180M, Double Its Size]

The new Summit X770 switch, slated for availability on Dec. 24, offers the industry's highest port density of 10GbE, making it well-suited to address the bandwidth challenges introduced by big data applications, the company said.

"Big data can literally be petabytes of information. To make it useful, you have to convert that data into information, and you do that with various types of analytics," said Derek Granath, senior director of product management at Extreme. "This requires ever-increasing bandwidth in the network, lower and lower latencies in the network, and an increased focus on the reliability of that network."

Extreme said the Summit X770 delivers these capabilities in a variety of ways. For starters, the company said, the switch has a latency of less than 600 nanoseconds and supports 104 wire-speed 10GbE ports in a one-rack unit.

The Summit X770, which can be used as either a core or edge switch in the data center, offers 104 10GbE or 32 40GbE ports. It also supports the TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links) standard for Layer 2 multipath and multihop routing, and is compatible with Extreme's prior-generation Summit switches.

Michael Oh, CEO of Heavy Water, a New Rochelle, N.Y.-based Extreme partner, said the new Summit X770 switch is the latest in a string of data-center-focused investments made by Extreme and applauded by its partners.

"This new Summit series keeps them ahead of the curve," Oh said. "I'm excited about this because I think it definitely gives them a better position in the data center, and I think the SGI [partnership] is interesting. It's good to see Extreme embrace [SGI] because it will give them more visibility."

The new Summit X770 series is based on Extreme's operating system. Moving forward, however, Granath said Extreme's switches will soon leverage a combination of its own software and that from Enterasys, the networking rival Extreme acquired last month.

Granath said customers and partners will start to see merged versions of the Extreme and Enterasys operating systems within the next four months. But it will take two to three years, he said, for the companies to fully merge their operating systems into one.

Extreme partners, including Oh, welcomed Extreme's acquisition of Enterasys, viewing it as a deal that will significantly broaden Extreme's footprint in the wireless and network management arenas.

Oh also said his Extreme business in 2013 was up roughly 10 percent compared to 2012. Extreme sales now make up the biggest portion of Heavy Water's overall networking portfolio, which also consists of products from Juniper, HP and Brocade.

"I expect even better growth next year," Oh told CRN.

PUBLISHED NOV. 18, 2013