Network equipment vendor Enterasys is tackling the growing problem of managing wired and wireless devices with the latest addition to its suite of fabric network management technology, the OneFabric Edge Architecture. The combined wired-wireless management fabric relieves a number of network management headaches, especially in situations where the wired network is often managed by one vendor and the wireless network by another, says the company.
"Wired is a pain in the butt now," says Craig Mathias, a principal analyst at Farpoint Group. With wireless devices ubiquitous in the workplace, Mathias wonders, why anyone would use a wired network?
For now, though, wired and wireless networks have to work together and need to be merged. "The idea of thinking of the network as a single unified entity ... is one of the key emerging themes that I think you're going to see a lot of emphasis on over the next couple of years," Mathias says.
The OneFabric Edge features an end-to-end integration of the WLAN and the wired infrastructure, and integrates Enterasys' security and management features with application-aware capabilities that aid compliance and service level agreements (SLAs). The product introduces what Enterasys calls the Wireless Services Engine (WiSE), a WLAN controller for application services that the company says gives customers greater flexibility for deploying edge access in virtual, physical and cloud environments.
Lastly, the OneFabric Edge introduces the K-Series modular switch, which provides visibility into network traffic to determine location, identification and overall management capabilities of the converged wired and wireless network. Enterasys says the K-Series switch helps manage environments in which employees bring their own wireless devices into work to run on the corporate network.
Both the Enterasys data center fabric and edge fabric systems are jointly managed by the OneFabric Control Center management console.
While applauding Enterasys' innovation, Mathias says it faces considerable competition in the data center fabric space from companies such as Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and Brocade, as well as in the edge network space.