Fully Integrated Network Solution for the Czech Republic’s Largest Steelmaker

ArcelorMittal Ostrava is the largest steelmaker in the Czech Republic, and their local factory is a part of the ArcelorMittal steel and mining group. ArcelorMittal Ostrava‘s network environment has been running for twenty years, uniquely combining old and new technologies while maintaining efficiency and investing in cutting-edge IT solutions.

The production and administrative areas of the business had run on Cisco Catalyst 6500 series technology. Some of those devices have been end-of-sale since April 2008. Additionally, the company had also used HP 3Com switches acquired within a separate storage system installation, as well as various industrial switches. The production network is built on a total floor area of 22 square km, using advanced L3 functions on hundreds of L2/L3 switches.

Working with so much hardware without any software management tools makes it almost impossible to manage the network efficiently and provide a higher level of security at the same time – Pavel Schmid, IT Infrastructure and EUC Transformation Manager at ArcelorMittal

The Project

Due to the legacy network and the challenge of managing a multi-vendor environment, ArcelorMittal decided to search for a new network management tool to begin upgrading their network. After an exhaustive search for the right fit, the IT infrastructure department decided to purchase the all-in-one solution from Extreme Networks. Their original system was based on Extreme Management Center with ExtremeControl, and was extended to include ExtremeAnalytics. This addition allows the IT team to use simple license upgrading and adds two 10GbE probes with unique CoreFlow2 technology for high performance granular application visibility and control.

With Extreme Management Center, there is a significant value-add for administrators. Now we can manage ports and configurations throughout the heterogenous network, including Catalyst 6500 series switches with a CatOS operating system. We realized after testing other vendors that if we got a real, unified management system, we could gain network visibility and control never before attainable – Marek Škarban, Network Administrator IT Infrastructure at ArcelorMittal

Along with better network visibility, ExtremeControl has delivered a much better user experience. ArcelorMittal is able to provide unified guest access to both the wired and wireless network. “There were many customer complaints in the past about the complicated guest access, as well as poor connectivity. We used to have very limited visibility into onboarding, and manual interventions were required. It cost us time and money – said Marek Škarban, Network Administrator at ArcelorMittal.

ExtremeControl guest access offers multiple options for guest onboarding, like sponsored access or guest registration; plus, it’s fully automated. Since ArcelorMittal no longer requires third-party involvement to enable guest access, they’ve realized significant cost savings, a much better user experience, and a decrease in the time required to manage the network.

The important benefit for our employees, guests and staff is the integration of the three independent wireless solutions we currently have (2x Cisco and 1x Extreme) under one control and management platform. We don’t have to worry about wireless user location anymore, and everyone can roam without need for re-login, even if the user goes from one wireless point to another. We also have full visibility into all three solutions from a unified single-pane-of-glass management perspective – Škarban concluded.

Extreme Networks Solution

The key value of ArcelorMittal’s Extreme Networks solution is based on the advanced, fully integrated Extreme Management Center platform with ExtremeControl and ExtremeAnalytics. These tools solve 70-80% of tasks on non-Extreme hardware, and 100% of tasks on Extreme hardware. The power of application analysis brings a deep understanding of user behavior. Paired with information about a user’s role in the network and localization in a wired or wireless environment, this solution enable us to deliver a truly superior user experience.