Extreme Networks' vision for digital transformation

The company transforms the network from a binary utility into a powerful, perceptive engine that automatically and intelligently connects people to technology.

Johannesburg, 19 Jun 2019
Read time 5min 50sec

The possibilities offered by today’s networking technology are endless, from being able to save lives to keeping loved ones safe, better preparing students for their future, getting packages to where they need to be a whole lot faster, helping customers find what they need faster, and more. How can we ensure the technology is optimised to do this?

According to ZK Research: “An autonomous network is the next evolutionary step in networking, and advances many of the capabilities created by software-defined networks. It’s important to understand that an autonomous network goes well beyond basic automation capabilities and leads to a network that is self-operating.”

In its research paper: "Digital Transformation Requires an Autonomous Network", ZK Research explains the differences between a network that is fully autonomous and one that merely contains automated capabilities by looking at the automotive industry.

In the paper, ZK Research writes that cars have had automation capabilities, such as parallel-park assist, lane-change alert and cruise control, for several years, but the operator of the vehicle makes the decision as to how fast to drive or whether it can park in a certain spot.

With a completely autonomous vehicle, the driver issues a command such as “drive me to the airport”, and the car will complete this task following the rules and policies. The car will arrive at the airport knowing whether a certain lot is for daily use or long-term use and will make a decision based on that policy. A self-driving car understands all the rules, speed limits and congestion points, and it completes the tasks with these in mind.

Similarly, an autonomous network can be thought of as a self-driving network that runs itself based on the intent determined by business policy. The autonomous network is a powerful, transformational paradigm to ensure that the operation of the network is aligned with the goals of the business. This changes the role of the network from a tactical resource that often gets in the way to a strategic resource that drives innovation.

Here are some of the capabilities autonomous networking enables:

  • Connecting doctors with patients arriving in an ambulance before they’re even around the corner;
  • Finding missing persons with IP cameras at concerts;
  • Selling consumers what they want even if it’s not in your store;
  • Powering next-level robotics;
  • Using facial recognition for door locks at schools, research facilities and prisons; and
  • Getting a heart transplant where it needs to be on time for surgery.

All of these capabilities improve human experiences by connecting people to technology. But such connections are only possible if we can scale our networks to meet the demands of these new experiences.

What if the network wasn’t just something you managed, but rather an entity capable of learning, adapting and securing all on its own? It wouldn’t just be machine learning and artificial intelligence; this would be freedom.

This gives users the freedom to set their intentions and watch the network run autonomously while exploring new ideas and experiences. It offers the freedom to connect with your patients, students, customers, citizens and clients by leveraging your network, apps and devices. This is the beauty of AI. If we can build a network that is self-learning, self-healing, self-securing and self-optimising, it gives us freedom and delivers experiences.

“Advanced networking is the unsung hero of our digital future, offering a continuum of connectivity that can drive the development of new products and services, transform inefficient operating models, and make digital transformation possible,” claims Deloitte.

To fully realise this level of digitisation, you will require an agile, adaptive and secure network, with a software-driven approach, and your team’s human intelligence underpinning the entire business. You will need a network that:

  • Addresses the onslaught of IOT and mobile devices with context-based policies;
  • Uses automation to initiate remediation;
  • Automates WiFi and frees up IT administrators’ time;
  • Secures data and information using ML and AI;
  • Simplifies network operations using verbal commands;
  • Utilises analytics to make decisions; and
  • Prevents catastrophic “headline-making” security attacks.

Deploying the right combination of elements

Extreme Networks brings you this vision with the autonomous network. Connecting things is what the company does.

People, applications and experiences all depend on their ability to connect to the network. From electronic shelf labelling in retail to digital learning in schools, Extreme Networks transforms the network from a binary utility into a powerful, perceptive engine that automatically and intelligently connects people to technology. Your IT team becomes free to re-imagine the business and create meaningful outcomes that improve the human experience like never before.

That’s why Extreme Networks invests 95% of its research and development dollars into software and AI to expand the automation capabilities across its Smart OmniEdge, Automated Campus and Agile Data Centre solutions. The aim is to create a secure, self-healing and self-driving network, from the enterprise edge to the cloud, with the following attributes:

  • Cross-domain and closed-loop automation: End users can optimise network performance from the end device to the application server.
  • Software-driven infrastructure, augmented with machine learning and AI, so customers can easily respond to bandwidth demands and user behaviour, ensuring that end users get the experience they need when they need it.
  • Insights and analytics: End users can track the behaviour of applications, users and IOT devices in real time; identify anomalous behaviour; and automatically resolve issues without human intervention.
  • Open and standards-based ecosystem: End users can build the exact architecture and applications they require to fulfil the specialised demands of their enterprise.

“By offering new sources of automation and intelligence, we’re giving customers the tools they need to automate routine networking tasks, and the freedom to create compelling new experiences that increase efficiencies, improve competitive advantage and, in some cases, change lives," explains Ed Meyercord, president and CEO of Extreme Networks. "The businesses of the future are being built today, and they’re customers of Extreme Networks.”

Combined with its collaborative, customer-driven approach, Extreme Networks affords IT practitioners in every industry the freedom to challenge the status quo and to connect with patients, students, customers and clients in new exciting ways. Ultimately, it affords them the freedom to leverage their network, apps and devices to do what they came here to do: elevate the human experience.

Editorial contacts
Copy writer Sigourney Frier (+27) 011 351 9800 sfrier@duxnet.co.za
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