Extreme Networks, which recently acquired Enterasys in order to merge its own Ethernet technology with the Enterasys security and management tools and services, now launches its first combined product called Purview. This hardware-software combo provides network-centric application analytics, giving visibility into application use across the network in order to improve the experience of connected users, enhance understanding of user engagement, optimise application performance and protect against malicious or unapproved system use. Purview is capable of collecting, analysing and reporting application data from the entire network, including wired and wireless devices and core/data centers. The ASICs-based technology uses the Enterasys Coreflow2.
Purview addresses the twin monetisation challenges facing content providers: delivering the right content at the right time, and doing so in a highly scalable fashion as data speeds and volumes soar. It also speaks the language of the business user, positioning the network as a ‘business intelligence tool’ that facilitates user insights and identifies where problems and opportunities lie.
Extreme Networks pitches Purview as a ‘contextual business tool’ combining the ability to ‘fingerprint’ 13,000 apps in the context of the user’s present role in the business process, location, time of day, type of device and type of network they are connected on. Tying apps usage into social context provides better understanding of user actions, and allows IT to set better policies and automate controls. By bridging the gap between network analytics and business analytics, Purview can improve communication efficiency and compliance in many different ways.
A German healthcare trust used Purview to analyse its network, which was clogged up by an important, but bandwidth hungry video app. Purview identified the user constituencies and their location and reconfigured the network to put the video server closer to the users, thus freeing up significant bandwidth for other apps. Reviewing usage patterns of newly deployed apps, Purview could identify intensive users and users who needed supplementary support and training. Similar use cases have been demonstrated in the hospitality and events industry, where providing guests and spectators with additional context-related information can be monetised.
The prime example promoted by Extreme Networks is Verizon’s 2014 deal with the US National Football League (NFL) to provide value-add Wi-Fi services for the 82,500 Superbowl fans in the stadium, using Purview to optimise and manage 25,000 to 30,000 concurrent internet users across cellular and Wi-Fi. At last year's Super Bowl, streaming was initially allowed but then switched off when network traffic problems ensued. This year Verizon, using Purview, planned to provide slow-motion replays, close-ups of the action and goals from different angles, score and player stats etc. all brought to paying viewers’ smartphones or tablets during the game.
However right before the actual event, the NFL CIO, like last year, decided to block access to video to those inside the stadium, because it might impact the ability for the majority of the fans to be able to stay connected to social media. Another critical issue was probably the digital rights management, where the NFL is fiercely protective of its content, making it very wary of allowing individual ‘mash-up’ content delivery, preferring one product, one version.
So not everything has a technical solution—business considerations and digital rights can derail even the best network manager planning. As web-based content volumes and speeds escalate, we are likely to see more clashes of content ownership, and transmission rights.