What Extreme’s string of networking acquisitions means for enterprises

Extreme Network’s recent string of acquisitions – including it’s recent $100 million auction-buy of Avaya’s networking business, it’s purchase of Brocade’s Ethernet IP networking assets and its purchase of wireless vendor Zebra Technologies last year – should cause enterprise end users to potentially rethink their network infrastructure buying decisions when it comes time for their next hardware refresh, according to Forrester analyst Andre Kindness.

Kindness says in the immediate short term, there are not likely to be any major changes to offerings from these vendors; all current Avaya and Brocade networking gear will still be supported. But given Extreme’s acquisition spree, it’s expected there will be some consolidation and blending of products over the medium and long-term. “As with anything, it will take some time to reconcile the moves and figure out the new direction,” says Kindness.

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Some analysts are optimistic these assets will fit nicely together. Network World blogger Zeus Kerravala believes the move will be good for Avaya customers, with technologies from the companies complementing each other. Avaya’s strength in the data center and campus seems to align well with Extreme’s focus on both campus and LAN activities. Meanwhile, the acquisitions build out Extreme’s product portfolio, especially as it relates to wireless, which Avaya and Brocade customers could benefit from. Still, Kindness says already some customers he’s spoken with are concerned about which products will be changing over the long-term.

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