WiFi + Cloud. History and development of the issue. The difference between Cloud solutions of different generations

Last summer, 2019, Extreme Networks acquired the company Aerohive networks, whose main products were solutions for wireless networks. At the same time, if everyone understands everything with the generations of 802.11 standards (we even analyzed the features of the standard 802.11ax in our article, it’s WiFi6), then the clouds are different for clouds, and Cloud Management platforms have their own development history and certain generations, we suggest sorting out our new article.

The history of the development of WiFi is quite well-known, but still repeat it briefly. After the need arose for coordinated management of individual WiFi access points, a controller was added to the network. Technologies did not stand still, and the controller periodically changed its image, from physical to virtual, or even distributed. At the same time, from the point of view of a holistic architecture, it was the same WiFi network controller, with its installation and operation features:
– Availability of physical access and control
– single tenant (sole owner or tenant)
– The hardware of the solution in the data center
– Unscalable architecture
This corresponds to stages 1-3 of the evolution of WiFi architecture development in the picture below.

Since about 2006, when some of the customers did not want to install and maintain WiFi controllers locally, Cloud Controller or 1st generation cloud platforms appear. For 1st generation Cloud, we took standard software solutions (VMs that were previously sold to the client) installed in a certain type of virtual environment (VMWare, etc.), which was publicly available. This allowed the client to use the installed software without having to deal with hardware and software support for purchased products. The main driver was the focus on flexibility, scalability and cost savings obtained by moving equipment and processing power to the cloud. The main characteristics of this solution were:
– Single tenant
– virtualized
– VM Servers in a data center
– Not globally scalable
– On-premises was more prevalent

In 2011, further development takes place and Cloud Management platforms of the 2nd generation appear, in which emphasis is placed on security, high availability of solutions, microservices are being introduced, but basically this is still code with a monolithic architecture. In general, the improvements affected the following characteristics:
– Security
– Data Analytics
– Resiliency and High availability
– Introduction of microservices
– True multitenancy
– Continuous delivery

Starting in 2016, 3rd generation Cloud Management platforms have appeared on the market. There is a gradual introduction of containers and an intensive transition to microservices. The code architecture is no longer monolithic and this allows the cloud to shrink, expand and recover quickly regardless of the hosting environment. 3rd generation Cloud is independent of the cloud service provider, and can be deployed on AWS, Google, Microsoft or any other work environment, including private data centers. Big Data with machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms can also be used extremely efficiently. The following characteristics can be distinguished as the main improvements:
– Machine Learning (ML)
– Artificial Intelligence (AI)
– Real-time innovation
– microservices
– Serverless computing
– Cloud that is truly elastic
– Performance, Flexibility & Resiliency

In general, the development of Cloud Networking can be represented as follows:

Currently, the rapid development of Cloud Networking technologies continues and the dates given above are rather arbitrary. The process of introducing innovations is carried out continuously, and invisibly to the end user. Extreme Networks’ ExtremeCloud IQ is the latest 3rd generation Cloud Management platform, with already implemented and working 4th generation Cloud elements. It is expected that these platforms will have a fully containerized architecture, dynamic licensing and segmentation capabilities, as well as many other improvements that are still behind the scenes.

Any questions that arise or remain can always be asked to our office staff – cis@extremenetworks.com.

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