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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.

How many server nodes can you support from a single switch?

We can do 768 10G server ports on one (chassis) so that's three times that in a rack. Or 192 40G ports. We were first to market with 40G. We now have the most comprehensive portfolio in 40G capability, and we'll continue to push on that and continue to bring more 40G capability out.

If you look at the combination of 10G and 40G, that's really being driven by what's happening at the server level... thanks to Intel's work on moving 10G onto the motherboard. So any high-performance data center and high-performance cloud capability is going to be 10G at the server with very speedy processors to maximize the number of virtual machines. And then that network is going to have to provide 10G access to the server and then 40G trunking so that you can operate in a fully meshed environment and be able to give any server access to any storage or any other server at any point in time. When virtual machines move around you never can tell which physical server they're going to sit on.

With Foundry being sucked up into Brocade, does that simplify your life or complicate it?

It's better for us. It simplifies our life, because I think Foundry was a very good executing company, to be frank. Bobby Johnson ran a really good company. He in essence ran a very customer-focused company and as a result of that they were really a very vehement competitor. When I look at the acquisition by Brocade, it's taken them a while to get everything integrated. They're a good competitor now - don't get me wrong, I'm not throwing a stone over there - but I think that anyone who is going through the transition of old technology to new technology gets slowed down to a certain extent.

I look at Fibre Channel as the TDM of storage. When you're trying to balance the current with the future, it's a lot harder, and I think I like that better from a competitive standpoint.

As you focus on data center cloud fabrics going into 2012, are there any pieces that are missing right now that you need to have in order to fulfill that mission?

One thing I think is very important is policy management and networks. We've had the luxury in the networking industry for many years to just throw more bandwidth at the problem. As soon as anything got congested, just throw more bandwidth. As soon as you needed to have mission-critical information, add another switch. If you needed to have quality-of-service issues, you could just give it tons of bandwidth and it will resolve itself.


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