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Extreme Takes One Chassis Fits All Approach

Extreme Networks has extended its BlackDiamond 8800 modular switch family with its new 8500-series modules. With an eye to the wiring closet, the 8500-series offers a value priced option to the family while retaining the security and automation features of its high-end line. The BlackDiamond 8500-series modules will be available this quarter and include a management module, a 24 port Gigabit fiber module and a 48 port Gigabit Base-T module. The BlackDiamond 8500-series modules are also the first components in Extreme's modular product to receive Extreme's limited lifetime warranty.
Based on the same chassis as the BlackDiamond 8800 switches, the new line cards can be intermixed with modules up the product chain, and share the common ExtremeXOS operating system.  Extreme now has three distinct tiers for its BlackDiamond 8800 line of modular switches.  The BlackDiamond 8500-series modules target the wiring closet and small deployments, while its siblings, the 8800 and 8900-series modules are designed for the aggregate and data center layers respectively.  
The advantages for both customers and Extreme Networks itself are significant. Smaller enterprises can start with lower cost BlackDiamond 8500-series modules and then migrate up the product chain as their needs increase. Steven J. Schuchart Jr., Principal Analyst for Current Analysis agrees, noting "Extreme's new 8500 line cards give wiring closet customers an affordable modular option on the BlackDiamond 8800 modular platform. Customers will be able to take advantage of the reliability of a modular platform while still keeping up front costs low." 
Larger enterprises can also standardize on a common chassis from the wiring closet all the way into the data center, using a mix of modules to build their Ethernet infrastructure as needed.  Furthermore, because the BlackDiamond product families can be combined within the same chassis, so network administrators can lower the number of spare modules they need to have on hand.
The use of a single chassis throughout the network should be a compelling selling point for enterprises and could streamline the moves, adds and changes typical enterprise architecture. Adding capacity and functionality without the radical rip and replace methods of moving between platforms can take some pain points off the shoulders of network administrators, as well as the CIOs who have to pay for them.