Extreme Networks: Customers Want Alternatives to ‘Distracted’ Cisco, HPE

Extreme Networks' Norman Rice III at the company's Global Partner Conference 2017

(pictured above: Extreme Networks’ Norman Rice III on stage at the company’s Global Partner Summit this week in Orlando.)

EXTREME NETWORKS GLOBAL PARTNER SUMMIT — With both Cisco and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) “distracted,” Extreme Networks is going to continue hitting the enterprise and quickly chewing up market share.

That’s according to Norman Rice III, Extreme’s chief marketing, development and product operations officer. He spoke during Extreme’s Global Partner Summit this week in Orlando, Florida. With more than $1 billion in annual revenue, Extreme now is the third-largest end-to-end network vendor, with 30,000 customers in 80 countries.

Extreme Networks' Norman Rice

Extreme Networks’ Norman Rice

“Customers want real alternatives and there hasn’t been a great option that’s end to end, from the data center out to the access layer — one unified management platform simplicity,” he said. “And they’re looking for that as the Internet of Things (IoT) comes online. With all these things coming together, we want to convey the power of the portfolio … the data and the data center coming together with the secure fabric from Avaya layered into the Extreme portfolio in terms of switching and wireless, all under a single pane of glass unified management platform. That’s the key to our technology proposition.”

Cisco, the No. 1 network vendor, is going through massive transformation, and is losing market share in switching and networking, Rice said.

“In the enterprise, it’s going to companies like us,” he said. “Cisco has a lot of focus on trying to support the service provider and the hyper cloud, and not focusing on the enterprise. We see that as an opportunity, and we’re in the right place at the right time with a completely enterprise-centric storyline, complete enterprise solution, No. 1 service and support.”

HPE, excluding Aruba, is evolving more toward becoming a services company than a traditional technology or networking company, Rice said.

“HPE is showing up more as a competitor than as a partner,” he said. “A partner may go in and sell a solution and HPE may come in and look to undercut the partner in terms of service.”

PhillyCom, a consulting and technology integration company serving Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, is a legacy Extreme partner. Tom Desilets, its president, said Extreme’s expanded capabilities will allow him to attract new customers that no longer are interested in Cisco or HPE.

“There’s a top 10 law firm in Philadelphia [that] has Cisco today, and in the customer’s words, he’s tired of paying CiscoWorks maintenance prices so he wants to replace his Edge first,” he said. “He had already brought in HPE, and he really wasn’t thinking about bringing anyone else in, and I positioned Extreme and I told him all the reasons why … so now we’re being entertained as a replacement for Cisco. We know that Cisco is …

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