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6/25/2014
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Extreme Networks Announces OpenDaylight SDN Controller

Extreme Networks will release an SDN controller based on OpenDaylight software. The company also announced an SDN application development challenge.

Extreme Networks announced an SDN platform that embraces open standards, including OpenDaylight and OpenFlow. The company will also launch a challenge to spur application development for Extreme’s platform, in which it will award prizes for applications developed by U.S. university students.

As Cisco and VMware suck up much of the oxygen around SDN in the enterprise, other network vendors are looking for ways to differentiate their SDN plays, and Extreme is no exception.

To that end, Extreme will roll out a controller based on software from the OpenDaylight project. OpenDaylight is overseen by the Linux Foundation and is developing open-source controllers and APIs.

However, Extreme says it has added its own extensions rather than use an existing version of OpenDaylight’s Hydrogen controller, which OpenDaylight announced in February.

Extreme says it developed a variant because it allows the company to “differentiate around Wi-Fi and other components,” said Bob Noel, Senior Director of Solutions Marketing at Extreme. He also said Extreme wanted to make its own version because the OpenDaylight code still needs to mature.

Noel noted that Extreme, which joined OpenDaylight in early June, would contribute intellectual property back to the project.

Extreme isn’t the only networking vendor looking to link itself with open-branded systems. Earlier this month, HP announced the Virtual Cloud Networking application. The application links Helion, HP’s OpenStack instance, with HP’s SDN controller. Using OpenStack’s Neutron plug-in, the orchestration software can request network services from the controller. The goal is to simplify the provisioning of private and hybrid clouds.

Extreme also emphasizes that its SDN platform capabilities reach beyond the data center. “We believe it needs to extend to the mobile edge where users use applications, and should include analytics,” said Noel.

This allows Extreme to leverage wireless technology it picked up in its acquisition of Enterasys in September 2013.

For example, Noel cited an integration with AirWatch, the MDM system. AirWatch has detailed information about mobile devices trying to attach to the network. The controller can query the MDM system for attributes of the device, and then apply policies such QoS or put the device on a specific VLAN.

Extreme did not quote pricing for the controller, though it did say it will be available as a virtual instance or a physical appliance. The controller is expected to be available by the end of the year.

In addition to the controller, Extreme announced the SDN Innovation Challenge. The goal is to encourage application development for Extreme’s SDN platform by providing an SDK to university students in the United States. Extreme will award prizes for innovative applications. Extreme is partnering with US Ignite, a non-profit that encourages application development.

Extreme says the challenge will run from September 2014 to May 2015. More details are available here.

Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio
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MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Author
6/25/2014 | 3:34:08 PM
Re: Applications are a must
I agree, having a set of applications demonstrates practical use of SDN. It seems that Extreme's SDN strategy has taken awhile to take shape, but that it's tactic of looking at SDN more broadly beyond the data center and integrating its wireless technologies will help as a differentiator.
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2014 | 3:02:55 PM
Applications are a must
I think Extreme is smart to sponsor some application development. Having a set of useful applications demonstrates to potential customers that you don't "do" SDN for its own sake. It allows a vendor to point to concrete benefits. HP's also taking this approach with its App Store and SDK. Besides HP apps, the store will include apps from independent developers, who can get a cut of sales.
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