Your Steps to Cloud Networking

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Networking and the cloud

Almost everything is moving to the cloud, and the network is no exception. Today’s world has become increasingly connected, digitised, distributed, and diverse, and the sheer scale and complexity of networks is becoming harder to both manage and secure effectively. Cloud networking introduces a new way to deploy and manage these distributed and complex networks.

But what exactly is cloud networking?

Simply put, cloud networking enables IT teams to break the traditional ways of building and operating networks and embrace a future powered by cloud-driven technologies that can solve their network challenges in new ways. Cloud networking delivers enterprise-class network management capabilities for WiFi access points, switches, and routers, via cloud infrastructure that requires little or no capital investment, in addition to hardware and software platforms and IT resources.

Introducing ExtremeCloud™ IQ

Daisy can help you provide fast, flexible, reliable, and secure connectivity with ExtremeCloud™ IQ, the industry’s leading end-to-end cloud management solution for wired and wireless networks from Extreme Networks.

  • ExtremeCloud™ IQ leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to provide organisations with insights and complete visibility, control, and automation of their entire network.
  • ExtremeCloud™ IQ is certified as ISO 27001, ISO 27017 and ISO 27701, making it the only cloud management solution with all three major ISO certifications for cloud, ensuring your business and client data is fully safeguarded across the whole platform from users through to data centres.
  • ExtremeCloud™ IQ also has a Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) STAR Level 1 and 2 attestation. That’s five security certifications for one product, with all certifications focused on the protection of data and reliable operation of cloud services.

More than just a network management platform

ExtremeCloud™ IQ has five new applications – the ‘Essential Applications’ – which make ExtremeCloud™ IQ more than just a network management platform. Harnessed together these ‘Essential Applications’ provide complete network visibility, management, control, and compliance from a single tool.

  • Extreme AirDefense™ delivers continuous Wireless Intrusion Prevention (WIPS) to safeguard the network from external threats and includes detection capabilities for Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy Intrusion Prevention (BIPS)
  • ExtremeLocation™ delivers proximity, presence, and location-based services with extensive real-time and historical location analytics, such as new and repeat visitors, engagement times, location of associates or assets, and specifics of the site or zone performance
  • ExtremeGuest™ delivers exceptional guest WiFi access capabilities coupled with advanced network analytics for retail, hospitality, and large event venues, among other locations
  • ExtremeIoT™ delivers simple and secure onboarding, profiling, segmentation, and filtering of IoT devices on a production network
  • ExtremeCompliance™ delivers automated and comprehensive compliance testing for PCI, HIPAA, and GDPR to pass audits and avoid penalties across the entire network

The back story

Traditionally, a business networking applications and network management software would have all been bought and maintained in-house along with all the costs that this entailed, such as buying new servers and hardware, and paying staff to look after it all. This can be expensive enough when you have only one location, but when there’s several branches or offices that need deployment and maintenance of networking equipment as well, it really stretches your resources. This is where cloud networking comes in.
Cloud networking is a way of building and managing secure networks online using cloud infrastructure. This means all your traditional network functions and services such as connectivity, security, management and control, are sent into the cloud and delivered as a service. You can deploy and manage these networks without having to invest in additional hardware or staff to take care of it. Cloud networking is efficient too and can automate complex tasks, as well as allowing centralised control and full network visibility at all times.
Legacy networking

  • Disparate wired and wireless
  • Human-only management
  • Multiple management interfaces
  • Manually-configured users and devices
Cloud-driven networking

  • Optimised for skills, scale and business objectives
  • Continuous innovation and frictionless delivery
  • Proven in the most-risk sensitive environments
  • Access to the world’s best-of-breed technologies
Cloud networking offers you a wealth of benefits that can’t be found in traditional network management systems. Its unmatched flexibility and scalability make it a perfect fit for organisations of all shapes and sizes.

The road ahead

Responses and approaches to COVID-19 have highlighted the benefits of cloud technology. Thanks to the availability of IT resources in the cloud, users have been able to seamlessly transition to working from home, transforming connectivity between people and businesses on a global scale.

The pandemic has however been a wake-up call for many organisations, both highlighting process inadequacies on the one hand, and accelerating digital transformation initiatives on the other.

Undoubtedly, the future will be built on even more distributed connectivity. This requires a fresh look at IT hardware, security, services, and total visibility and control of a vastly distributed enterprise from a centralised management system. The coming months will see many businesses assess their operations and automate their processes to better prepare for the future.

The scalability and simplified management of cloud-driven networks will be critical going forward, as services become increasingly distributed and information needs to be accessed from more remote locations. Cloud services will prove essential to support new features such as real-time analytics and the increased number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices needed for occupancy management and remote working.

As we move into a post-pandemic world, cloud-based network solutions that provide stability, resilience and flexibility, such as ExtremeCloud™ IQ, will be a necessity in order to:

  • Connect, manage and protect a greater number of mobile applications
  • Manage more fixed devices (e.g. sensors and Internet of Things (IoT))
  • Enable a secure Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy
  • Enable agile work strategies (“bring-your-office-home”, collaboration apps)
  • Support more cloud-hosted apps and processes
  • Allow effective contact tracing and occupancy management

Not all clouds are created equal

While many providers market cloud networking solutions that look very similar at face value, it’s worth bearing in mind there are many different versions of cloud architecture, and not all clouds are created equal. This means the “engine” underneath can greatly vary between one provider to the next, impacting capabilities, availability, feature development velocity, flexibility, and durability.

4th generation cloud is an application architecture consisting of containers and Kubernetes infrastructure, tightly coupled with microservices architectures and extensive orchestration platforms that create an environment for compute, operating system, and storage agnostic delivery of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. Often, limitations or issues arise with cloud networking technologies that rely on 2nd or 3rd generation cloud.

ExtremeCloud™ IQ operates as a 4th generation cloud product. What does that mean? End-to-end cloud management from the edge to the data centre, giving you speed and agility that has been unavailable in previous cloud generations.

Thanks to its ISO 27001 certification and fully-containerised microservices architecture, ExtremeCloud™ IQ can run securely on virtually any public cloud platform, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google. Another benefit of the 4th generation architecture is the way in which developments can be deployed at Cloud Speed. The application is broken down into many different services, known as microservices, all working independently of each other. This means any number of these can be developed and redeployed, or totally built from scratch on a daily basis without impacting any other services and requiring manual intervention from the end user. This feature release velocity benefits the end user as these advancements can be used as soon as they are available.

ExtremeCloud™ IQ effectively allows you to run anything, anywhere, at any time, and scale it to limits that no other provider can match.

Key advantages to you

Your network infrastructure has a far more profound effect on your business than you may realise. Reliable connectivity is certainly important, but did you know that moving your network management to the cloud can dramatically reduce downtime, improve security, provide better reporting, and increase IT efficiency?

Cloud networking is a powerful solution and offers a host of advantages compared to traditional, non-cloud-based network systems. These benefits extend well beyond the IT department, delivering enormous advantages across your entire organisation.

Let’s take a look at how switching to a cloud network will transform your business.


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Simplicity and efficiency
Arguably the greatest benefit of cloud networking due to the ability to centrally-manage unified wired and wireless networks.

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Flexibility
One of the most attractive characteristics of cloud is elasticity – to scale up or down seamlessly, in line with changing demand.

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Cost efficiencies
Switching to cloud networking can reduce the cost of deploying and operating a network.

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Big Data analytics
Organisations can leverage network data to form insights and intelligence to enhance network operation and business efficiencies.

Cloud networking by sector

Cloud networking can benefit organisations of all sizes, needs and industries. Here are eight industries that can directly benefit from ExtremeCloud™ IQ:

Local Government

The need to automate and streamline processes whilst maintaining high-level citizen-centric services and protect citizens’ information can be difficult for local government organisations. By leveraging ML and AI capabilities, ExtremeCloud™ IQ automates routine network administration and configuration functions to provide better insights, visibility, control and automation across the network. It also ensures the highest levels of data protection, management and compliance.

Healthcare

Healthcare providers are under pressure to reduce the cost of care delivery, efficiently manage resources, and improve patient care and safety. ExtremeCloud™ IQ can support rapidly evolving healthcare environments with intelligence from real-time healthcare applications and connected devices to improve workflow, safety, and costs. Healthcare providers may view real-time dashboards and monitor users and assets’ trends to deliver enhanced patient care.

Education

Education institutions need to have access to the latest technology to provide the best education possible. Students will benefit from ExtremeCloud™ IQ’s ML and AI capabilities through optimised network performance. Teachers can distribute assignments with greater ease and better engage with students, enhancing their learning experiences and improving results – whether students are in-person, remote or in a hybrid learning environment.

Hospitality

ExtremeCloud™ IQ’s software-driven, secure, and intelligent network infrastructure meets the mobile-driven hospitality environment’s unique business and physical needs and can improve these establishments’ efficiency, whether it’s a hotel airport, casino, convention centre or cruise ship. Customising the guest experience through ML and AI provides an enhanced experience and, in turn, a greater return on investment.

Manufacturing

Manufacturers need to be more agile than ever to support ever-changing customer and market requirements, transform operations and boost factory efficiency. ExtremeCloud™ IQ reliably and securely connects manufacturers with their operations throughout the enterprise, improving overall business performance, enabling the digital transformation of manufacturing and improving output and productivity.

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Retail

Providing the personalised experience that consumers want can help retailers stand out, build loyalty, and earn those repeat visits. ExtremeCloud™ IQ equips retailers with the flexibility and the scalability to deliver the ultimate retail experience, create a more engaging and efficient retail environment for the customer, and dynamically adjust to critical IT and business requirements to ensure operational continuity and safe customer experiences.

Transport & Logistics

ExtremeCloud™ IQ combines AI and ML with the lean operations and mobile-centric nature of transport & logistics organisations to ensure they are well prepared for the future. You can capture millions of data points using IoT technology and use machine learning to put these data points into actionable insights to improve operational efficiency and ultimately deliver better customer experiences.

Professional Services

Accountancy firms, law firms and other professional services providers face unique challenges, from having a secure infrastructure capable of safeguarding clients’ sensitive and valuable information to keeping pace with regulatory and compliance obligations. ExtremeCloud™ IQ has in-built, end-to-end security tools to keep professional services providers secure and compliant in an ever-changing regulatory environment, and it has been proven in the most risk-sensitive environments.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

Harnessing both AI and ML in your cloud network management approach can make your networks more “intelligent”, defining common behaviours and increasing automation. This, in turn, reduces workload and improves performance.

Using sophisticated and built-in AI and ML, ExtremeCloud™ IQ creates a continuous feedback loop that helps you optimise your apps, infrastructure and roaming strategy while minimising downtime. In addition to this, Extreme Networks will release “Co-Pilot,” a new automation feature that will help IT administrators save time and effort on an increasing number of everyday tasks, during a Beta phase in early 2021. This allows for advanced ML insights to present anomalous detection observations and remediation via Global Technical Assistance Centres (GTAC) interaction.

Performance reporting is taken to a whole new level

ExtremeCloud™ IQ can recall and analyse data from unlimited time periods, allowing intelligent adjustments to be made and problems speedily resolved. SIP voice quality can be monitored and improved, while the effectiveness of marketing campaigns can be measured year-on-year, leading to game-changing insights.
ExtremeCloud™ IQ can also monitor the applications in use at any given moment, prioritising them in real time and then de-prioritising them as usage slows in order to free up bandwidth. By monitoring insights from hundreds of thousands of active access points, the platform can identify any that may be in danger of failing and pre-emptively replace them via Extreme Networks Global Technical Assistance Centre (GTAC).

FAQs

While cloud networking is rapidly growing in popularity, we still get lots of questions about it. So whether you are about to start out on your cloud networking journey, or you are a complete cloud novice, we’ve answered some of our most frequently asked questions to help you decide if a cloud-managed network is right for your organisation:

Cloud-managed networking is a way of managing and controlling wired and wireless networks through a management platform based in the cloud. By taking advantage of the simplicity and scalability that the cloud offers, it makes it easy to manage all your network operations, users, devices, and distributed sites quickly and securely from one central place. This means you get total visibility over deployment, management, monitoring and diagnosis of issues on a network, which makes networking as flexible and effortless as possible.

If you’re weighing up the cloud options available to your organisation, it’s worth keeping in mind that not all cloud architectures are created equal. Cloud options should be evaluated using certain criteria; most importantly, make sure that the cloud-managed network isn’t dependent on a single cloud-hosting architecture because this can inhibit innovation and velocity, and make sure it’s available via different cloud hosting providers. All three of the major trusted cloud providers (Amazon, Google, and Microsoft) should be supported as a minimum.

One of the benefits of ExtremeCloud™ IQ is that we offer flexible deployment options with the choice of public, private, local and even hybrid cloud options. You can seamlessly change deployment models as requirements evolve, and the features and functionality remain the same between options. Built on a 4th generation platform, ExtremeCloud™ IQ is fully-operationalised to run on Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure.

Many organisations are turning to the cloud for a simplified way to manage and optimise their network. Utilising the scale and flexibility of cloud networking and its ability to massively scale provides a highly robust and centralised way to perform day-to-day network lifecycle operations.  Couple this with the vast data pool that is gathered globally daily, then the ability to perform network insights, analytics and dynamic actions based on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) becomes incredibly viable. ExtremeCloud™ IQ leads the industry in this.

Using a cloud-based networking solution that automatically recognises and provisions new sites will ensure the quick and seamless setup of multiple remote or branch office sites. ExtremeCloud™ IQ, for example, allows you to manage multiple locations from one centralised management dashboard, and allows you to give control of certain things to remote sites while ensuring ultimate control of the network is retained within IT.

ExtremeCloud™ IQ offers unprecedented cloud choice and it is the industry’s most flexible deployment model and unlimited data source. Built with ML and AI to assist in collecting data to build, secure, and maintain agile distributed networks, ExtremeCloud™ IQ is the only 4th generation cloud platform on the market today. Extreme’s unlimited data offering sets a new standard for access to cloud data and insights that is unmatched in the industry.

Due to the containerised structure of the software architecture, ExtremeCloud™ IQ has maintained a no-nines uptime, which means it has met an operational state of 100% uptime and has not failed in the last year (zero downtime). Also due to its 4th generation architecture, ExtremeCloud™ IQ provides 11 nines of Data Durability.

Despite the various benefits and advantages that cloud networking brings to organisations, cloud security is an ongoing concern. Daisy and Extreme Networks take threats to the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of our customers’ information seriously, and ExtremeCloud™ IQ stores no customer personal information. It is also the only cloud networking management platform that is ISO 27001 compliant and adheres to GDPR standards.

It’s important to choose a management solution with flexible hardware and firmware agnostic architecture that can transform with your business — without requiring the purchase of new equipment. ExtremeCloud™ IQ leverages your existing infrastructure and can manage the same access points and switches for both on-premise and cloud deployments to eliminate architecture lock-in and allow you to move from cloud to on-premise (or vice versa) without expensive hardware and software rip-and-replace. This ensures that as your business changes, so can your architecture, but your hardware and firmware won’t have to.

The amount of data travelling over networks is so huge that it has become almost impossible for humans to process, analyse, and act on it. The cloud makes it easy for enterprises to leverage AI and ML capabilities to harness that data and process it faster, smarter, and more efficiently.

ExtremeCloud™ IQ uses AI and ML to automate routine and monotonous tasks, such as configuration, optimisation, and troubleshooting. This gives humans the ability to focus on higher-level projects that require greater intelligence, creativity, and decision-making. By detecting and correcting problems before they manifest themselves to the end-user, ExtremeCloud™ IQ’s AI and ML capabilities can also greatly enhance the end-user experience and reduce the maintenance and troubleshooting burden on IT.

Cloud-managed networks are often easier to deploy and manage than traditional on-premise managed networks, especially when deployed using Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP). They remove the need for trained IT staff at remote locations, as deployments can be managed from one central location. ExtremeCloud™ IQ has been designed for simplicity, meaning anyone can manage the network from any device in just a few easy steps. ZTP allows devices to automatically locate ExtremeCloud™ IQ, instantly configure and become fully-operational without the need to reconfigure the local infrastructure.

How Daisy can help

Daisy can help organisations address the intense demands of today’s climate by leveraging the power of ExtremeCloud™ IQ, which can be deployed across any infrastructure arrangement, whether via public cloud, your own private cloud or even on-premise servers.

ExtremeCloud™ IQ’s dynamic scalability makes large rollouts easy to execute, and its unified, cloud-hosted nature allows it to adapt as your business grows and changes. Features and upgrades are released and installed automatically, and at speed.

Where partnership makes the difference

Daisy is the UK’s #1 independent provider of IT, communications and cloud. As an Extreme Networks Black Diamond Partner, we can help you create a more efficient network environment with cloud-driven networking solutions.

Extreme has recently been named a leader for a third year in a row in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant (LAN/WLAN) and was rated top by customers for Service and Support in Gartner Peer Insights 2019. In addition to this, Omdia recently reported that Extreme is the second largest and the fastest growing cloud managed network provider by revenue share in the industry.

Your end-to-end rollout, from design and scoping to full operation, can be handled by Daisy, with ongoing, award-winning support thereafter. You’ll have both Daisy and Extreme on hand to help get the most from your investment, both proactively and through multiple lines of technical support.