Extreme Networks News

  • What’s Keeping Higher Education CIOs Up At Night? [INFOGRAPHIC]

    What’s Keeping Higher Education CIOs Up at Night from Extreme Networks

    CIOs are under pressure and their jobs are at risk. Nowhere is this truer than in higher education. Increasing costs, technology disruption, mounting student debt and competition for students have put the CIO in a pressure cooker. In this stressful environment, we surveyed leading CIOs in higher education to find out about their biggest concerns and see which trends may be sneaking up on them.

    A number of other organizations have published top issues surveys this year, including Educause and Gartner, so we took a different cut, probing about emerging campus technologies and how the CIOs are allocating their resources. Are they worried about the Internet of Things? What is their involvement with disruptive forces like competency-based learning and online teaching?

    Not surprisingly, one of the greatest CIO concerns is the specter of a network security breach. This fear, combined with the burgeoning demand for campus Wi-Fi and growing high bandwidth activities like video, has made upgrading campus IT infrastructure the highest strategic priority for CIOs. Improving mobile access and BYOD is the second most-mentioned priority.

    What is surprising, especially as college campuses tend to lead in technology, is that only 19% of CIOs are planning for the Internet of Things (IoT) as a strategic priority. The majority of CIOs are handling the concept as part of their BYOD and regular network infrastructure planning. A sizable portion, 28%, will either address it in the future or feels it is not important enough to be on their radar screen.

    Almost all schools surveyed now offer online courses, although only 17% have more than a quarter of their subjects available online. The IT staffs take an active role in online education and provide the online technology and often advise on the content creation. All but 16% of CIOs are involved in the online curriculum.

    Competency-Based Learning and Network Analytics

    Most of the CIOs are involved in the emerging field of competency-based education (CBE). The concept enables students to progress at their own paces, using technology to assess how far the student has progressed to subject mastery and directing them to supplemental content as needed. Almost all CIOs (97%) see the role for the flipped classroom growing. The flipped classroom model makes extensive outside-the-classroom use of video lectures, reserving class time for one-on-one assistance.

    Higher education CIOs are well-attuned to the value of network analytics. The CIOs use analytics to manage the user network experience (67%), for network capacity planning (67%), and to provide insight into student success (33%). Several of the CIOs among those who have not yet tapped into network analytics commented that they plan to do more with analytics, in some cases during the coming year.

    How Is The Role Of CIO Evolving In Higher Education?

    Higher education CIOs see their role increasing on the business and strategy side, much more so than on the curriculum side. While fund raising is important to the schools, this is not an area that CIOs in general feel they can contribute. As more traditional IT functions are outsourced to the cloud, the role of CIO is transitioning to one of innovation leadership. As Paige Francis, CIO of Fairfield University put it, “My role is to make our school synonymous with innovation by fully embracing mobility, accessibility and security to continuously support our teaching and learning environment.”

    Higher Education CIO survey conducted by Extreme Networks.

  • Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Education in 2015 [Slideshare]


    Education and especially higher education IT people are often among the leaders in technology innovation. Yet, as the pace of change has accelerated, Gartner encourages even education IT leaders to consider drawing more on new technologies that are developing outside their community.

    “An increasing number of technical innovations and technology trends are emerging from within the industry, but most will emerge outside the industry, driven by major forces such as digital business and the consumerization and industrialization of IT,” said Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst Jan-Martin Lowendahl. “Education sector CIOs need to take a broad approach and consider technologies from outside the education community, as well as looking for lessons from their peers. Focus on those that are most appropriate to your institution’s strategy.”

    These recommendations are part of Gartner’s annual look at the Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Education. As part of the report, the firm forecasts that worldwide education sector spending will grow 2.3 percent to reach $67.8 billion in 2015.

    Gartner recommends education CIOs develop a plan for these top 10 technologies in 2015, even though they are not necessarily where education CIOs are spending the most time or money today. To help with your planning, Extreme Networks has published investigative blogs delving into each of these topics with examples of implementations, details on the drivers and trends, impacts, case studies, supporting concepts, related products and solutions, and recommendations. Our slideshare walks you through each of the top 10 strategic technologies and provides guidance and links to the clarifying blogs.

    Here is our slideshare on Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Education in 2015.

  • What Does SDN Have to Offer for Data Center Security?

    Data Center_SDN

    Arguably the most popular topic this year at Interop 2015 has been Software-Defined Networking, or SDN. With a major announcement from Extreme Networks, as well as solutions showcased by other vendors, it is hard to argue that this is the future of network infrastructure, as we know it. However, there seems to be widening concern on the security aspect of SDN architecture.

    Leveraging SDN for Data Center Security

    In a great morning session I attended hosted by Jason Nash, CTO at Varrow, he focused on how to leverage SDN offerings to help ease the pain of implementing robust security in the data center. Network and server administrators have struggled with implementing data security in the data center without resorting to complex designs and configurations. Regulations such as PCI and HIPAA have proven cumbersome and difficult to meet using traditional tools and methods. Jason also covered how to use SDN to deploy policy-based security in both physical and virtual environments in much simpler ways than were previously possible.

    Jason started by outlining key messaging around becoming “Software Defined”. He stated that Software Defined allows us to define and apply policies in software rather than on individual hardware appliances. The idea is that we want to be able to define a policy, and then have those policies applied through whatever infrastructure is in place. However, Software Defined does not mean that everything must be done in software!

    He outlined that Software-Defined Networking is enabling organizations to accelerate application deployment and delivery, dramatically reducing IT costs through policy-enabled workflow automation. SDN technology enables cloud architectures by delivering automated, on-demand application delivery and mobility at scale.

    However, Jason brought to light some problems with data center security. Applying basic security policies within a data center has added complexity due to extra segmentation, changing data flows, and service modules/extra hardware. Then came along virtualization and made it even more difficult because traffic may not leave the virtualization host, it is easier to make administrative mistakes, as well as additional overhead. There have been several attempts to integrate good security in to the data center and virtualization with things like virtual firewall appliances, integrated network security functions, and storage and encryption overlays, but they often create more problems than they solve.

    The old data center is not sufficient – the move to microsegmentation seems to be taking hold. SDN is still very new; implementations have risen over the past six months, but things will become a lot clearer over the next six months.

    Jason outlined a very important question which a lot of people have, which is how can SDN help? He included a few way in which SDN technologies can help secure the data center:

    • Policy-based management – Managing individual servers and endpoints is too cumbersome, and there is easy configuration by creating standardized policies and apply them to groups
    • Easy integration – SDN gives you the ability to leverage existing knowledge, experience and tools
    • Less reliance on specific hardware infrastructure – Jason made it clear that this does not mean you should go and buy the cheapest gear available; it still needs to be reliable and robust. Also, by abstracting policy definition from policy application, it makes the transitions easier.
    • Greater flexibility – You are no longer tied to complex traffic flow configurations

    The big question that is left is in regards to compliance. Jason explained that SDN technologies and products are a set of tools. They do not immediately solve compliance issues, but what they can do is make meeting requirements easier through documented reference architectures and provide easier use of mixed environments.

    Is your organization looking towards an SDN-centric architecture? Have you already implemented SDN? Is data center security a major concern of yours with SDN? I’d love to hear your feedback!

    Be sure to check out my Day 1: Part 1 blog from earlier today as well!

  • Surfs Up! The IoT Wave is Rolling Into Your Data Center

    Internet of Things

    With 300+ exhibitors, industry-leading keynotes, vendor tech sessions, and networking events, Interop 2015 is in full swing at the beautiful Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. This week, I will be attending a wide variety of educational sessions that cover various tracks like SDN, Mobility, Infrastructure and many more. Stay tuned for my day one: part two recap, as well as day two and day three coverage of Interop. As for day one, the hype the Internet of Things was brought to light. 

    IoT’s Potential Impact on Your Data Center

    What does going from 7 billion connected devices in 2014 to more than 40 billion in 2020 do to your data center and infrastructure strategy? The truth is, no one really knows for sure. Jason Mendenhall hosted a terrific session this morning and gave insightful perspective: the impact will be significant, but it’s not as obvious as “just more stuff.” The industry will see new opportunities arise and new stresses occur. He shined a light on the subject and gave food for thought on next steps for organizations facing this massive growth.

    According to a study by Gartner, the Internet of Things phenomenon has reached the very “Peak of Inflated Expectations”. We are currently at the beginning of the adoption curve before the explosion of the “Internet of Everything” is going to take hold. Jason outlined the three waves of IoT adoption and what they will consist of:

    • First wave – networked consumer electronics
    • Second wave – networked enterprise electronics
    • Third wave – networked everything

    The issue with all of these connected devices accessing the network is the vast influx of data. Unstructured data became the norm, and it may be very insightful, high quality data, but there’s nowhere to put it. Jason stated that we must stop thinking of IT as a tool to cut the cost of IT.

    Jason explained that the data center is becoming the modern day railroad – it is bridging how we move and store data. Pushing large amounts of data out to the cloud isn’t always the most cost-effective if you already have a team that works with that infrastructure – 50 terabits seems to be the tipping point to keep the data in-house.

    He threw the question out there, is cloud the answer? With a very interesting take on it, he outlined the cons of cloud for the enterprise, with examples like:

    • Limited hybrid cloud capability
    • Some providers have demonstrated a clear desire to “enter your business”
    • Performance is lacking
    • Starts “cheap” ends up very expensive
    • Still a black box
    • Connectivity costs are unpredictable
    • “Handcuffs” are on the horizon – vendors looking to lock-in

    His big concern was that when it comes to your core business, why would you take that data, move it into someone else’s platform and make it so you can never leave that platform?

    The amount of data that is flowing through the network as a result of IoT is going to come back and it will need a place to live. As for the infrastructure that supports that flowing data, agility is essential. Big Data and the Internet of Things are increasing exponentially. High performance, low latency networks are critical to the future success of coping with the cross between the two. How ready is your network?

    Be sure to check out my Day 1: Part 2 blog from today as well!

  • Proven, Real-World Enterprise-Scale SDN


    Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a new architectural approach that provides network abstractions to enable automation, orchestration and virtualization of 
the network. A primary roadblock to SDN adoption has been the requirement to either “rip-and-replace” or be locked into closed and proprietary vendor solutions. Extreme Networks’ SDN deployment differentiates itself by being able to provide measurable, proven benefits to migrating to an open, standards-based SDN in a brownfield environment.

    We are proud and excited to officially announce at Interop 2015 the Extreme Networks OneController solution. At Extreme Networks, we believe a simple, fast and smart SDN solution will create successful business outcomes. The Town of Enfield’s deployment of Extreme Networks’ open, standards-based OneController demonstrates a comprehensive, real-worlds
SDN implementation being seamlessly added to an existing network. This deployment proves Extreme Networks’ differentiated brownfield strategy, which enables a “no rip-and-replace” migration from existing multivendor networks to SDN. Extreme Networks is the first wired/wireless networking company to have completed an OpenDaylight-based integration with Microsoft Skype for Business (formerly known as Lync) via OneController. In addition, NetSight is the industry’s first network management application that can provision consistent network policies across a multivendor network using the Group-Based Policy project in OpenDaylight. To further accelerate industry innovation velocity, Extreme Networks is also enhancing its SDN ecosystem by introducing its online Marketplace including an App Store and online Developer Portal.

    Extreme Networks’ SDN deployment differentiates itself by being able to provide measurable, proven benefits to migrating to an open, standards-based SDN in a brownfield environment.

    This solution is part of the Extreme Networks’ SDN architecture that accelerates application innovation and reduces risks for the whole network (Wi-Fi, Campus and Data Center). We do this through a modular, open and standards-based development environment as well as turnkey solutions that integrate with existing infrastructure and avoid architecture lock-in. The architecture will include existing SDN solutions (OneFabric Control Center, OneFabric Connect, several integrated 3rd party apps, and EXOS with its OpenFlow and inSite SDK) and an OpenDayLight Controller that is hardened and enhanced.

    The Extreme Networks SDN OneController is now in Limited Availability. Subsequent versions of the OneController will also integrate other Extreme Networks software solutions such as: The IdentiFi wireless controller functionality, NAC, and Purview. This will open our software to the greater development community and allow other SDN compliant third parties to control these as well.

    Additional information about our SDN solution can be found at: 

    Also, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for help with a specific use-case.

  • The End of the Traditional Classroom as We Know It


    Today, technology is ubiquitous. It is in places we never imagined it would be, and is completely disrupting traditional notions of how things should be done. We need look no further than classrooms and lecture halls at K-12 schools and universities across the globe to see this shift taking place.

    When I think back to my own experience as a student, I am reminded of the famous Norman Rockwell painting “Teacher’s Birthday,” with the teacher instructing from the front of the classroom to students sitting with their hands clasped at wooden desks in neatly-kept rows. There was no Internet connection to be found, never mind iPads or Chromebooks. A blackboard was a dusty chalkboard, not a web-based learning management system. Times have certainly changed!

    Today, the practice of front-of-the-room, teacher-centered instruction has shifted to student-centered, student-driven learning – learning that is empowered by technology. A growing number of educators realize that students learn fundamental concepts more successfully and are better able to apply them through interactive, collaborative and student-centered learning. As a result, they are abandoning traditional conceptions of teaching in favor of new technology-enabled methods.

    One such method, Technology-Enabled Active Learning (TEAL), was brought up by a participant in our in-depth survey of higher education CIOs. TEAL is a unique teaching format that merges lectures, simulations and hands-on desktop experiments to create a rich collaborative learning experience. The method was pioneered at my own alma mater, MIT, by John Belcher, when he came to the realization that current methods of teaching physics were not working – students were not engaged and failure rates were skyrocketing. Although the method is not brand-new, it has been well-tested and constantly-improved based on continuing feedback by students and instructors.

    TEAL Has Delivered Results

    By replacing traditional introductory lectures with small classes that emphasize hands-on, interactive and collaborative learning, TEAL has had tremendous results. Class attendance went up and failure rates dropped by more than 50 percent. The benefits of TEAL are not exclusive to MIT; in fact, educators as a whole have found increased productivity in TEAL environments. Students develop an ownership of the material, which also builds collaboration skills and self-confidence.

    With TEAL, instructors deliver lectures interspersed with discussion questions, visualizations and group exercises. Instructors gauge students’ understanding during class by asking concept questions, which students answer through an electronic polling system. Instructors are not bound to a fixed location at the front of the lecture hall or classroom, but have the freedom to walk around, engage with students and assess their understanding face-to-face.

    At many schools and universities, traditional conceptions of teaching and learning are being challenged, and for good reason. Of course with the onset of new technologies in the classroom aimed at engaging students, schools and higher education institutions need to ensure they have the right IT infrastructure in place to handle all the applications coming onto the network. With an uninterrupted wireless connection, the classroom experience is seamless; but bottlenecks in the network render this style of learning ineffective. This is where Extreme Networks can help.

    As Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard whose work on interactive, collaborative, student-centered learning influenced the TEAL program at MIT stated, “Just as you can’t become a marathon runner by watching marathons on TV, likewise for science, you have to go through the thought processes of doing science and not just watch your instructor do it.”

    Be Prepared For Challenges

    Lest the idea of collaborative, interactive styles of teaching like TEAL seem too good to be true, the obstacles should be recognized so that they can be carefully monitored and corrected when they occur. For example, group dynamics can sometimes go bad, resulting in participants who become, “quite intimidated to ask a domineering student in my group for help, which renders the so-called ‘teamwork’ fairly inefficient.” Outdated, gimmicky or poorly-suited technology can also interfere with success.

    Rolling out a major new program like TEAL may not always be easy, but done right it can have remarkable and demonstrable success. In the words of Professor Belcher, who also served as Principal Investigator on the Plasma Science Experiment on the Voyager Neptune/Interstellar Mission, “On a scale of one to ten, ten being the hardest, working on Voyager was a five. Implementing TEAL and reforming education was a 10.” But if Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, North Carolina State University, University of Colorado, Harvard University, and the University of Maryland are any indication, implementing TEAL is well worth the effort.

  • Mission Critical Networks: What Healthcare Can Teach the Enterprise


    As always, HIMSS was a packed conference where we all try and compress one months worth of health IT activities down to a single week. Between managing the Intelligent Health Pavilion’s networks, meeting customers, and trying to sneak in the occasional session, I needed some downtime before moving on to our next conference – Interop.

    In the Intelligent Health Pavilion at HIMSS, as well as in various workshops, we spent a lot of time sharing knowledge on lessons learned in healthIT. As hospitals have accelerated the adoption of technologies, a number of conversations turned to how sometimes rather than following they are ahead of other industries.

    On that note, at Interop in Las Vegas I will be speaking on the topic of how the enterprise can look to lessons learned from healthIT. Reliability, Scalability, and Performance: Mission critical networks for all businesses.

    Wi-Fi is like Oxygen

    Doug McDonald Network Manager for Henry Ford Health System spoke on how Wi-Fi has become mission critical for the health system. No longer a nice to have feature, but rather crucial for providing connectivity for everyone from nurses to patients. Wi-Fi in hospitals is no longer optional. Its not uncommon in hospitals today to find more wireless clients than wired. What makes Wi-Fi unique in hospitals is how early on pervasive and dense coverage was needed for supporting critical systems such as telemetry and nurse call.

    Deterministic Planning

    Hospitals have to plan solutions that solve not only today’s challenges, but also scaling beyond yesterday’s assumptions. Downtime is rarely available; application adoption is complex. Imagine moving your business from SAP to Oracle while not having any downtime. HealthIT workers rolling out the next generation electronic health applications have spent the last few years making that preparation while at the same time addressing BYOD, adoption of tablets, cloud apps, and a host of other major events.

    Connected Devices: The explosion is yet to come

    BYOD was just the start. In hospitals IP enabled devices already outnumber employees. We see a tremendous amount of device-to-device or machine-to-machine communications take place in hospitals today. Chances are that IV pump you see on a medical show is Wi-Fi enabled. Scaling support of the number of devices is only half the challenge. The key has been to leverage network automation and intelligence so that devices are onboarded, isolated, and monitored. As enterprises adopt building automation systems, security cameras, and other M2M devices security and support will require more than just a new VLAN.

    Life Critical Applications

    Applications drive every business, but nothing scares anyone more than when an application issue can disrupt care delivery. Healthcare orgs have adopted not only VoIP, but VoWLAN and now pager apps with smartphones. Delivering applications 24×7 means thinking of the network as more than just large dumb pipes of bandwidth.

    You will become an ISP

    It seems that before the iPhone hardly anyone used a hospital’s guest Wi-Fi network. Since then it’s been 100% year after year growth of guest access demands for many hospitals. What was once a nice to have feature is now business impacting. Also what started as simple access for email and social media has now turned to an expectation to delivery HD video streaming.

    Shadow IT No Longer Hides in the Shadows

    IT budgets are not always controlled by IT. Sound familiar? Hospital IT departments frequently have to work alongside departmental IT teams or even clinicians with their own IT budgets. Non-IT controlled budgets are growing in every market. The key is proactive engagement for compliance and cost savings.

    Analytics is the MRI for the Business

    Applications are becoming more complex and past approaches of adding more bandwidth rarely solves the problem. It’s the lack of visibility into application and client behavior on the network that provides the most resource intensive challenge to IT. Looking into the traffic with network based analytic tools provides IT with knowledge to make evidence based decisions. This becomes even more critical with the adoption of cloud-based applications where you now become dependent on the application delivery of others.

  • #HubChat Returns: Every Wednesday at 3pm ET!

    After many successful Twitter chats last year, we are happy to announce that #HubChat is back! Please join us for a great discussion this week and every Wednesday at 3 pm ET. We hope to see you there!

    What is #HubChat?

    #HubChat is Extreme Networks’ very own Twitter chat that is a gathering of like-minded individuals discussing a new common topic each week. It was created to promote a collaborative discussion where people come to talk about a wide range of trending topics involving the changing world of technology impacting their lives.

    Why should I attend?

    Get the latest news and trends from colleagues and industry leaders. Customers have asked for this opportunity to test and exchange ideas with their peers. Here at Extreme Networks, we encourage a culture where everyone’s ideas can be shared and heard, as we believe social collaboration is the key to any successful business strategy. We value the opinion of our customers, partners, and colleagues by continuously seeking your input on new trends.

    How can I join the next #HubChat?

    You can join the chat by logging into your Twitter account and searching the hashtag, #HubChat. Introduce yourself, and start answering the questions labeled Q1, Q2, Q3. To answer a question, add A1 to the beginning of your tweet and include the #hubchat hashtag. To get the most out of the chat, engage with other #HubChat attendee’s in any questions or comments in real-time.

    Schedule of Events:

    Wednesday May 13th, 3pm ET: Healthcare Mobility: Changing the Face of Patient Care

    Moderator: @ExtremeNetworks

    Guest: David Chou, CIO, University of Mississippi Medical Center


    Wednesday May 6th, 3pm ET: What Mega Trends are Shaping IT in 2015?

    Moderator: @ExtremeNetworks

    Wednesday April 29th, 3pm ET: #IoT: Preparing for the Connected Future

    Moderator: @ExtremeNetworks

    Guest: Stay tuned each week for special guests that may include industry experts and Extreme Networks’ thought leaders. Interested in being a guest? Reach out to us on Twitter, @ExtremeNetworks, and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

    Be sure to follow our Storify for a recap of #HubChat every week. 

    Do you have any additional questions you would like to discuss? Submit them in advance to @ExtremeNetworks or comment below with questions!

  • Everyone Has A Game Day


    It’s game time when the bright lights shine. For you, game time stretches beyond a few hours one day each week; your game day extends from Monday morning to Sunday night. Week after week the pressure remains, and unlike professional sports there are no timeouts you can call.

    In today’s mobile-centric world everyone has a game day. For the fan walking into the stadium, the physician at the hospital or the student studying on campus the expectations for excellent mobile experiences has never been greater. The lifeline for your business is the network, and success is not a matter of luck.

    We build networks to deliver excellent experiences, consistently, for our user communities. Robust Wi-Fi, Simplified BYOD and guest access, coupled with mission critical network management are foundational technologies you require. These technologies help to assure delivery of reliable, scalable, and highly performing network access while the game clock is ticking.

    During those critical business moments, when game clock is winding down and the network is needed most, analytics will become your play-call to chalk up a game winning score. In those final moments, you will require real-time insights derived from analytics that measures the results of your game day; you can no longer afford to be scored on opinions alone.

    At Extreme Networks we are proud of our work in very large, high-density stadium deployments and believe our solutions solve game day challenges our customers have in any business.

    At Interop Las Vegas I will be presenting in the Extreme Networks booth on this very topic. If you are at the show please visit us at booth #1351.

    Here’s a preview of my Interop presentation. Check it out, and please interact with us via twitter @ExtremeNetworks and/or @MikeLeibovitz

  • Mobile Takes Center Stage at Green Bay Packers CIO Summit
    [View the story “Mobile Takes Center Stage at Green Bay Packers CIO Summit” on Storify]