A network switch on its own is just that: a switch. It needs servers and storage around it to provide what has become known in the industry as a converged solution.
Multiple vendors already have converged networking solutions, including Oracle with its engineered systems, HP with AppSystem, Cisco with UCS and IBM with PureSystems. Networking vendor Extreme is now also entering the converged systems fray, via new partnerships with EMC and Lenovo.
Lenovo and Extreme now have a strategic global reseller alliance with each other, enabling Lenovo to resell Extreme networking gear. As part of the alliance, the two vendors are developing a number of reference architectures that pair Lenovo's servers with Extreme switches in validated solution sets.
Eileen Brooker, vice president of strategic alliances at Extreme Networks, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that Lenovo today is able to bring a solid compute, storage, and networking solution to the market. Lenovo has a joint venture with EMC, known as LenovoEMC, that was previously known as storage vendor Iomega.
Brooker noted that Extreme and Lenovo will offer a few different bundles. The vendors will not disclose the full details of what will be included in those bundles until the fall, when the solution sets are officially made globally available.
The way the joint Lenovo/Extreme solutions will be sold will be as a single converged sales process. Brooker said that Lenovo will resell a number of Extreme switches, including the Summit 670, 440, and 460. The Extreme switches will get Lenovo part numbers and will be sold in a bundled solution.
"There will be one point of contact, one throat to choke," Brooker said. "We're working with Lenovo on post-sales services support, where they will be the first responders."
From a solution perspective, Brooker explained that the different reference architectures on which Lenovo will bundle Extreme switches will be based on the market and the size of deployment.
In addition to supporting the converged infrastructure as part of the LenovoEMC joint venture, Extreme also has another partnership directly with EMC.
The Summit X670 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch has now been validated to work as part of EMC's VSPEX solution. The VSPEX is a converged infrastructure solution for virtual deployment enablement.
From an SDN perspective, Jake Howering, director of marketing for data center solutions at Extreme Networks, explained that there is now a strategy to work with multiple tools to be SDN-ready.
To that end, Extreme now has a plug-in for the OpenStack Networking (Quantum) platform that will further enable converged infrastructure. OpenStack is a multi-stakeholder open source effort that includes IBM, HP, Dell, Cisco, Intel, Rackspace and Red Hat.
"We have a specific algorithm that we have developed that allows you to dynamically place virtual machines within a converged infrastructure pod," Howering said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.