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Extreme Networks Acquires Enterprise Networking Business

Extreme Networks acquires enterprise networking business from Avaya to improve it's software-driven solutions.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Extreme Networks announced its acquisition completion of Avaya’s enterprise networking business. The acquisition will allow the company to grow in its end-to-end software driven solutions.

Extreme Networks will acquire Avaya’s network assets along with employees, partners, and networking customers.

"Avaya's networking business is a strategic fit for Extreme Networks that strengthens the company's position in the enterprise market," ZK Research Analyst and Founder Zeus Kerravala said in a statement. "Avaya's strength in the core and campus complements Extreme's market focus.”

“Additionally, the acquisition is a positive move for Extreme, Avaya and both customer bases as it creates a company with best-in-class products that span the entire enterprise network."

Extreme Networks will take over Avaya’s enterprise networking business, including healthcare, education, and government markets.

Extreme Networks aims to combine Avaya’s wired, WLAN, and fabric technology for secure, simplified access, management, and control. Extreme Networks also hopes to leverage Avaya’s technology to strengthen its switching portfolio.

Extreme Networks recently released a new family of high performance modular switches, software tools and IoT technology.

Avaya is not Extreme Network’s first major enterprise networking acquisition. Late last year the company acquired the enterprise WLAN business from Zebra Technologies.

Extreme Network’s acquisition of Zebra’s enterprise networking business was in the same vein as its Avaya acquisition.

“This acquisition will strengthen and expand Extreme Networks' end-to-end, wired and wireless software-driven networking solutions and complements its vertical market focus,” Extreme Networks said of the Zebra acquisition.

These two acquisitions do not mean that Avaya or Zebra is losing business in other aspects. Different wireless vendors have different strengths, which makes collaboration and acquisition relatively common among wireless vendors.

Organizations involved in a vendor acquisition may benefit from additions to their WLAN solution or see more offerings from their new vendor.

For example, WLAN covers more than access points and routers; different vendors have different strengths. Gartner outlines that a complete WLAN solution includes hardware in the form of wireless access points, wired switches, and controllers along with various software service applications including:

  • Network management
  • Guest access
  • Onboarding services
  • AAA security/authentication
  • Policy enforcement
  • Intrusion detection systems/wireless intrusion detection systems
  • Location services
  • Performance management
  • Application visibility

Gartner has separated WLAN vendors into three general groups in their “Critical Capabilities for Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure” report:

  • Vendors that provide their own wired and wireless infrastructure, network applications and services — e.g., Cisco, HP/Aruba, Extreme Networks, Huawei.
  • Vendors that focus on more-specific connectivity options and/or address specific sets of market requirements — e.g., Aerohive, Brocade, Zebra.
  • Vendors that use strategic partners to provide portions of the access solutions — e.g., Dell, Avaya, Juniper, Alcatel-Lucent.

Complete WLAN deployments are complex yet capable of leading vendors with different areas of concentration to collaborate with each other occasionally to produce more complete solutions.

Juniper Networks frequently collaborates with Aruba (before and after it was acquired by HP) and has also collaborated with Aerohive as well.

Organizations can deploy a WLAN solution made up of different components from different vendors. Collaborations deploy components from different vendors that are made specifically to work together.

The Gartner Critical Capabilities report survey directly addressed WLAN acquisitions and how customers responded to them.

Over 70 percent of respondents preferred a single vendor to deploy their access layer solution. Only about half of end-user clients deployed wired/WLAN solutions from a single vendor, even though 75 percent see using a single vendor as desirable.

Although vendor acquisitions rarely affect compliance regulations, healthcare organizations need to be aware of when wireless acquisitions change and how that change may affect them.

Vendor acquisitions can raise concerns for organizations when their custom networks are suddenly under new management. However, vendors often embrace the technology of the WLAN vendor they are acquiring, organizations may end up with a more sophisticated network solution.