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Extreme CEO: New products in 2012, growth in 2013

John Dix and Jim Duffy | Dec. 22, 2011
After years of stagnant or lackluster growth, Extreme Networks tapped Oscar Rodriguez to bring new life to the switch maker in 2010.

What do you see as your major challenges in 2012 as you build upon what you accomplished in 2011?

Customer perception - making sure that we drive our customer perception as quickly as we possibly can. The more that we build customer awareness of our products, the sooner you get into the game, the better off you are. The other thing is having the denser boxes. You lower the power consumption per port, you make the network physically smaller so you're using less racks to run the same size of network. With our BlackDiamond X8 you can fit nearly 2,300 10G ports in a rack. That's unheard of -- nobody can do that.

So if you're a cloud guy, you want the network to be as small as possible, use up the least amount of room, because that way you have more racks for servers, more racks for virtual machines, more racks for storage, and that, in essence is what you sell -- you sell virtual machines and you sell storage. That maximizes your revenue out of the same facility size, and lowers your overhead. So we have to make it as small as possible and as quiet as possible so that these cloud guys can pay attention to the important things, which is driving more revenue and driving more virtual machine space.

Is some of that to say that you're advocating for flatter networks like a lot of the other guys do as well?

It's got to be flat, you've got to reduce the numbers of tiers. The old multi-tier way of doing this doesn't work. You've got to be able to have active-active switching. You've got to be able to have multi-path capability. What it does is it lowers the number of tiers, makes things highly redundant and fault tolerant, and if you can then put it in a nice, dense package, you've got an advantage for a cloud operator that's unheard of.

Juniper is out there talking about the need for single-layered - not even two-tier stuff, but do you go that far? Or do you think two tiers will suffice for many customers?

Yeah, the BlackDiamond can do one tier, and because it's so dense, we can do one tier with a single box. The way Juniper has done things, they've said, "OK, do all these multiple boxes, we can make it look like one tier." The problem is, now you're locked in to Juniper. So I kind of look at Juniper like the way Bose has done their audio system -- very high fidelity, no doubt about it, but you've got to cable your house differently than everybody else does. You don't want to do that non-standard cabling because now you're stuck. You're always going to buy a Bose system no matter what.


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