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Extreme targets data center automation with software, switches

News Analysis
Nov 21, 20193 mins
Data CenterNetworking

Extreme Fabric Automation lets customers bring up new data center networks quickly

Google Stadia - Data Center
Credit: Google

Extreme this week took the wraps off new automation software and switches aimed at helping customers quickly turn-up and manage new data-center networking segments.

Key to the network vendor’s data-center plans is an upgraded version of its Extreme Data Center Fabric, which has been available for over a year and is now upgraded to let customers deploy a fabric in minutes. Once  devices are cabled togtther and powered on,  customers run the Extreme Fabric Automation application from any Extreme SLX spine or leaf switch, which then confirms configuations, validates and tests the network to ensure it is set up and operating correctly.

While any Extreme SLX switch can support the software, the company rolled out two new switches purpose-built to support the software  – the SLX 9150 leaf and SLX 9250 spine switches.

Extreme Fabric Automation is hosted as an application on a guest virtual machine of the two new switches, providing on-premises and private-cloud deployment options, said Dan DeBacker, director of product management at Extreme. “The idea is to remove the need for IT to have to do manual switch-by-switch configurations,” he said.

In addition, the software gives IT teams the ability to scale the network up and down to meet changes in demand, and it reduces the cost of operating the network. For those using the guest VM, it eliminates the need for an external server, DeBacker said.

The Extreme Fabric Automation package now integrates with orchestration software including OpenStack, VMware vCenter, and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). Each integration is a separate microservice and additional integrations will be available in future releases of the software, Extreme said. The orchestration software further automates network configuration, coordination, and management of resources, DeBacker said.

The SLX 9150 leaf switch  is a high density 1/10/25/40/100GbE fixed-form-factor switch with 32MB of packet buffer and a switching capacity of up to 4Tbps. The box features 48 1/10/2GbE SFP28 ports or 48 1/10GbE 10GBaseT ports. 

The SLX 9250 switches come in a 10/25/40/100GbE fixed-form-factor with a 32MB packet buffer and performance at a line rate of up to 6.4Tbps switching capacity. It offers 32 QSFP+/QSFP28 40GbE/100GbE ports, Extreme said. Both switches use Broadcom Trident 3 switch ASICs.

The companies just last month signed an agreement that stated new Extreme hardware products, from the edge to the data center, will be built with Broadcom chips.

In the end the idea is a familiar one – to drive simplicity in a complex environment.

“Microservices have emerged as a key enabler of automated network agility and streamlined simplification, from the point of provisioning and throughout the network lifecycle,” said Brad Casemore research vice president, Datacenter Networks at IDC in a statement. With Extreme Fabric Automation, Extreme Networks is helping to bring simplicity to complex fabric management, making it possible for customers – on their own, without the assistance of external consultants – to get their data-center networks up and running in minutes rather than days.”