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Extreme, Brocade bring fabrics to the enterprise edge

Architectures and products designed to converge and integrate disparate campus networks, services

By , Network World
April 10, 2013 03:58 PM ET

Network World - Extreme Networks and Brocade this week separately announced products and strategies to tightly integrate IT resources in the enterprise campus.

Both companies unveiled fabric architectures for the enterprise designed to converge different networks and network services for faster and easier provisioning and management. The architectures are supported by new switching, wireless LAN and management products optimized for fabric-type convergence and integration.

[FABRIC WARS: Cisco vs. Brocade vs. Juniper]

Extreme's Open Fabric Edge looks to enable unified communications, physical security, audio-video bridging, and WLAN on a single converged network. Extreme touts the capabilities of its ExtremeOS software in enabling automation, availability and OpenFlow-based SDNs.

For UC, Extreme switches are now certified for operation with Microsoft Lync. The network supports UC capabilities such as VoIP desk phones, softphones, instant messaging and video collaboration.

ExtremeXOS also offers tools to detect and provision IP-based cameras, using secure 802.1X authentication and QoS policies to ensure quality video. Automation and network customization is enabled with the support of both programmable APIs, and SDN tools with OpenFlow and OpenStack, Extreme says.

The software also supports the EAPS protocol to reduce network downtime for applications such as CRM, data warehouses and VoIP for carrier and voice grade networks.

Extreme's new switches for the Open Fabric Edge include the Summit X430 and X440. The X430 is a Layer 2-only switch available in either 24- or 48-port 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet configurations. The X440 is Layer 2/3, with 24 fiber ports and stackability for greater scale.

Both switches support granular QoS, high availability features and identity-aware security, through ExtremeOS, Extreme says. Customers can connect devices including cameras, phones, remote offices, and other switches at distances up to 70km from aggregation or core switches with the X440, the company says.

Extreme also rolled out two new dual radio 802.11n wireless access points - the Altitude 4022, which works with a controller, and the 4522, which is controller-independent. The Altitude 4522 serves as a virtual controller to coordinate operations of up to 24 neighboring access points for mobility and QoS services, Extreme says.

To manage the Open Fabric Edge, Extreme unveiled Ridgeline 4.0 Network and Service Management Software. Ridgeline 4.0 provides an updated graphical user interface to support a single pane of glass view for switches, access points and wireless controllers.

All products are available in the second quarter. The Summit X430 costs $995 and the Summit X440 costs $3,495. The Altitude 4022 costs $395 and the 4522 costs $645.

Brocade unleashed an edge fabric of its own for enterprises with the key features of Brocade's HyperEdge Architecture being service intelligence, typically reserved for higher-end core campus switches, extended to entry-level switches at the edge; consolidated management through the sharing sharing of software images and network policies among logically grouped switches and wireless access points; and distributed access point forwarding, in which mobile traffic is secured and directed at the network edge, not tunneled back to a central controller, to avoid network bottlenecks.

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