Extreme adds network fabric support to its SD-WAN

Extreme Networks has added network fabric capabilities to its flagship SD-WAN platform to enable customers to link and manage distributed resources more securely.

Additional enhancements to the ExtremeCloud SD-WAN platform include improved automated workflows and direct connectivity to cloud systems such as Microsoft Azure and AWS.

“The overarching idea is to help customers more effectively connect distributed sites, especially the smaller branch office, without increasing optical or management overhead,” said Rob Hull, product marketing director at Extreme. “For the smaller sites, especially, with maybe no IT person or few, it gives them the big-site quality-of-service feel and big-site centralized management capability.”

ExtremeCloud SD-WAN is based on technology the vendor acquired from Ipanema in 2022. The SD-WAN platform is designed to deliver workloads and applications securely across conventional wide-area networks and multicloud service providers. It can automatically adjust application traffic flows based on real-time network conditions, which increases performance and improves quality of service for end users, Extreme stated. The package is centrally managed by the vendor’s cloud-based ExtremeCloud IQ system.

New to the ExtremeCloud SD-WAN package is support for the vendor’s Fabric Connect technology, which lets customers automate discovery and configuration of fabric-enabled switches and access points. With this integration, customers can more easily extend connectivity to new sites while keeping costs low and improving security, visibility and application performance, Hull said.

“In order to do this connectivity today, customers are typically using some sort of metro fiber solution they have little control over. But it’s generally sort of point-to-point and quite cumbersome and quite expensive,” Hull said. “With our fabric support, the software will discover switches and access points and configure them automatically.”

Customers can also choose to use low-cost internet access circuits for WAN traffic, and the software handles the fabric traffic and security by using IPsec over the internet, Hull said.

In addition, the customer can define the application priorities and application quality of service, and the SD-WAN software manipulates the traffic to make sure that those policies are enforced, Hull said. Customers can also segment traffic and sites to improve security.

With this release, Extreme has streamlined planning and deployment workflows to enable IT teams to perform management activities in minutes versus hours, Hull said. These workflows include automated SaaS application discovery, initial site configuration, and application performance information. With more intuitive workflows, IT teams can more easily identify the root cause of issues and reduce the mean time to repair problems that impact users, Hull said. 

The software also now supports the ability to direct traffic specifically to Microsoft Azure and AWS clouds. Customers can set up a “soft-IPsec tunnel” or soft onramp to those cloud services so traffic can flow directly from a remote site without having to traverse the WAN back to the data center, improving performance, Hull said. 

“We basically let customers set up policy-based, secure local breakouts to the cloud, because more traffic in today’s environments is traffic is destined to the cloud rather than the data center,” Hull said.

In addition to the software, Extreme expanded its data center access family with a 10G Ethernet appliance. The three-port IPE2200 device is aimed at campus environments with large traffic requirements.

The ExtremeCloud SD-WAN subscription with fabric support is expected to be available in June. The IPE2200 is expected in March.

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