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Extreme Networks Grabs Another Cisco Exec

**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in October and November.**

Extreme Networks announced Tuesday that it has hired Bob Gault as vice president of global channels and partners. Gault comes from Cisco where he was most recently vice president of Cisco’s Cloud and MSP group. He joins fellow ex-Cisco exec Stephen Patek, who came on board at Extreme in November as vice president of sales for the U.S. and Canada. Patek was the managing director of Cisco’s service provider business in Asia, Japan and China.

With a market cap of $324 million, Extreme is far smaller than competitors Brocade, Cisco, Juniper and HP, and has been searching for a market segment to call its own. While the company self identifies its products as ideally suited as an onramp to the cloud, its strengths are more in certain vertical applications where its wireless systems serve highly dense populations. Extreme has recently been selected for deployment in a variety of sports venues where wireless service will be deployed for fans. 

More and more, vendors are working to identify their products with the cloud, so Gault in particular should be a major asset to Extreme as he has key knowledge of the channel cloud strategy at Extreme’s largest competitor.

Because of Gault’s background, channel partners should expect to hear more about how Extreme is a good partner for the cloud. This is a fairly tough case to make as cloud access by its nature is open to the lowest common denominator. Where Extreme is likely to excel is in environments where network owners have little or no control over the devices attempting to connect to their networks.  Along with sports venues, we expect that educational institutions and hospitals are two likely markets for Extreme technologies. While Extreme has always had a good story to tell in terms of critical issues like performance and port density, it’s also brought good software to market for managing access from diverse user sets.

Still, the company finds itself one of the smaller players in a crowded field with competitors who offer far more than networking products to their channel partners. Cisco of course sells IP telephony, security, video conferencing, UC and a range of other products that cloud partners can leverage along with its wired and wireless network gear. Cisco is also making a big push toward the Internet of Things — something that so far Extreme has had little to say about. At the other end of its competitive set, HP sells solid networking equipment as well as servers, desktops, laptops servers and, increasingly, an array of security and management products.


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