Extreme Networks Gets EMC VSPEX Validation

EMC partnership follows reseller deal with Lenovo; IBM releases entry-level mainframe; Solera integrates with BlueCoat; FrontRange adds IT service management features.

July 26, 2013

6 Min Read
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Extreme Networks is ramping up its efforts to expand into the converged data center by partnering with EMC. The company’s Open Fabric Ethernet switches are now validated for VSPEX, EMC’s architecture geared toward virtualized and cloud environments. Extreme’s switches support OpenStack and include its Summit X670 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch.

The VSPEX validation places Extreme in the company of major vendors such as IBM, VMware, Dell and Cisco, and is a positive step for the company, said Bob Laliberte, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, because it gives it the opportunity to play in what ESG describes as the integrated computing platform (ICP) ecosystem. The validation could help drive incremental revenues for Extreme, he said. Combined with its recently announced reseller deal with Lenovo, “it’s a big foot in the ICP door," he added.

ESG defines ICP as virtual computing infrastructure that integrates hardware and software into a single consumable IT system, combining normally independent pieces of infrastructure to create simplified computing platforms targeted for virtualized and cloud environments.

However, VSPEX validation is only a start, added Laliberte. Extreme is known as a player in the high-performance computing space and has expanded its offerings to include cloud and software defined networking. But the VSPEX program already leverages technology from Cisco and Brocade, so Extreme needs to educate the VSPEX channel and EMC sales teams on the value of its gear.

EMC’s VSPEX currently has 19 reference architectures designed for small and midmarket organizations, said Mark Bowker, senior analyst at ESG. VSPEX products are available globally, but only through EMC Velocity Global Alliance Partners. EMC designs and tests VSPEX products, while system integrators and VARs select the appropriate configuration based on customer needs, preferences, and environment.

Currently, VCE’s vBlock, NetApp’s FlexPod -- which includes Cisco’s Unified Computing System in the stack -- and HP VirtualSystem are considered ICP leaders, he said, while emerging companies worth watching are SimpliVity, Nutanix and Scale.

ESG research shows ICPs will become the consumption model for many new greenfield software deployments, said Bowker, including VDI, which requires complex infrastructure deployed in a simplified manner. “Enterprises are not racing to consume and procure everything they do with an ICP solution, but they are certainly including it as part of their research and due diligence," he said.

IBM’s Newest Big Iron

Big Blue continues to invest in its mainframe portfolio with the release of the zEnterprise BC12, an entry-level system starting at $75,000 with a 4.2 GHz processor, which IBM says is faster than its predecessor, the z114, and has twice the available memory.

The zBC12 comes with software tools to support analytics, cloud and mobile computing capabilities. For analytics, IBM’s new zEnterprise Analytics System 9710 includes DB2 10 for z/OS VUE and can be combined with its DB2 Analytics Accelerator for faster response times for analytics workloads. IBM has also beefed up support for cloud computing with its OMEGAMON for z/OS family to better detect performance issues.

In addition, IBM announced a new Linux-only based version of the zBC12; the Enterprise Linux Server (ELS) includes hardware, a z/VM Hypervisor and three years of maintenance. The ELS can run more than 3,000 Linux apps, and supports analytics and cloud computing using the new ELS for Analytics and Cloud-Ready for Linux on System z.

[Demand for supercomputing is on the rise as companies need more powerful systems for big data analytics. Read more in "Does Your Data Center Need A Supercomputer?"]

IBM has seen competition from challengers in computing markets it has traditionally dominated, and recently lost a $600 million contract with the CIA to Amazon Web Services. Until recently, x86 systems could not compete with the reliability of the mainframe without the abstraction of a virtualized stack, Jasmine McTigue wrote in Information Week's report on the Future of The Mainframe, but now they are a viable competitor, pushing IBM to invest R&D dollars into refreshing its flagship System z line last year.

According to InformationWeek's 2012 State of the Data Center survey, 27% of 534 respondents have IBM zSeries architectures in use and plan to retain them, while an additional 5% are using the systems but plan to retire them.

With the zBC12, IBM is responding to the competition from x86 systems. The company claims a single zBC12 can save clients up to 55% compared with the cost of x86 distributed environments. The zBC12 can consolidate up to 40 virtual servers per core, or up to 520 in a single footprint, starting at $1 per day, per virtual server.

NEXT: New Release From Solera and FrontRange

Solera Platform Integrates Blue Coat Threat Ratings

Solera Networks, which was recently bought by Blue Coat Systems, has released Blue Coat ThreatBLADES, which combine Solera’s Security Analytics Platform -- previously known as DeepSee -- with Blue Coat’s WebPulse Collaborative Defense, a Web threat rating service.

ThreatBLADES comes in three versions: MalwareAnalysis BLADE, WebThreat BLADE and FileThreatBlade. MalwareAnalysis BLADE, available both on-premise or in the cloud, uses sandbox technology to identify and analyze infected files, including zero-day attacks or other nasty code embedded in files. WebThreat BLADE uses IP and URL reputation from WebPulse to deal with threats such as botnets and phishing attacks. FileThreat BLADE also uses WebPulse to protect against viruses and malware hiding in a wide variety of file types, including Microsoft Office documents, executables, Web objects, Java and Flash.

Blue Coat has been expanding its security portfolio since late last year. In December, it acquired network security automation firm Crossbeam Systems, and more recently it acquired SSL technology from Netronome, which it incorporated into the Solera Security Analytics Platform.

Blue Coat ThreatBLADES will be available individually or as part of the company’s Advanced Protection Suite in September.

FrontRange Cranks Up The HEAT

FrontRange has released the latest version of its HEAT Cloud IT service management product that includes a number of new features, including the ability for users to be more social as a means to improve productivity.

The new social groups capability in Heat Cloud 2013.1 allows users to post messages directly to specific service teams, groups or user profiles. Other productivity enhancements include a watch list that allows users to access recent work with a single click and a new context-based user interface to better support self-service. The UI can be customized with an organization's branding.

Other new features in HEAT Cloud include support for IE 10, additional language support (German, Dutch and Portuguese), a new Web services API, and HEAT Cloud Connect, which provides better integration with external apps.

FrontRange has positioned itself as “the only provider of hybrid ITSM.” HEAT is built on a multi-tenant platform that can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. However, Stephen Mann, an analyst at Forrester Research, blogged earlier this year that hybrid ITSM is a term that is open to misinterpretation, noting that it is not about applying service management to hybrid environments, but a choice of delivery model for ITSM.

Earlier this year, Mann released a report on SaaS-based ITSM tools and how they are faring. Many of the 23 vendors on the list offer both on-premise and cloud-based ITSM services, including HP and BMC.

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