Dell to Offer Customers New SDN Networking Fabric for Data Centers

By Ed Silverstein April 19, 2013

Dell will offer its customers a new software-defined networking (SDN) fabric for data centers.

It is being billed as offering lower costs and it is quicker than other options. The suite can also be used at virtual, converged or private cloud settings.

The fabrics include active fabric solutions for SDN-enabled designs, next-generation management software (Dell Active Fabric Manager), and the Dell Networking S5000 modular LAN/SAN switching platform.

The products come in response to recent changes in technology.

“The data center network market has been transformed with new architectures, new technologies and vendors specifically targeting solutions to address the changing size and density of the data center, shifts in traffic patterns, and the increasing requirement to simplify network operations,” Gartner said in a recent report quoted by NFVZone.

“Newer small form factor core devices can enable network managers to reduce capital costs by 30 percent to 70 percent, and save 30 percent or more on operations expenses, compared with chassis-based switches,” Gartner added.

For example, Dell Active Fabric solutions provide up to 59 lower costs and consume up to 77 percent less power than alternatives, the company said.

“We're challenging conventional wisdom with new products and solutions designed to accelerate our customers' migration to virtualized and cloud data center environments,” said Tom Burns, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking. “We're excited about these new offerings and their ability to simplify operations, boost performance and improve economics.”

Dell 10G and 40G Active Fabric solutions are now available from Dell and from its channel partners. Active Fabric Manager version 1.5 will be available in May. Dell Networking S5000 will be available in July.

In its review of the new products, ZDNet reported it includes a design wizard to come up with calculations in connection with fabric design. Also, the Active Fabric solution includes high-density and low-latency 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 40 Gigabit Ethernet switches, and provides LAN and SAN convergence.

The Active Fabric suite also supports “networking virtualization overlays using hypervisors from the likes of Microsoft, VMware and OpenStack, while also supporting programmatic interfaces such as Telnet/CLI, TCL, REST, SNMP, Perl and Python scripting,” ZDNet added.

"There's lots of Cisco out there and there's lots of VMware out there, but what our strategy is at Dell is to help migrate legacy and overlay networks to this new era," Arpit Joshipura, vice president of networking product management and marketing at Dell, told CRN. "So what we do is we interoperate with Cisco in the legacy way, we very tightly interoperate with any hypervisor … and then we have OpenFlow support for our switches."

"I think the differentiator for us is that we can provide a … broad base of technologies and capabilities," Burns added. "The number of players that can actually provide networking, servers and storage, the number of companies that can provide this level of management or this level of engagement, the number of companies that could be a complement to channel partners' services [is low]."

Edited by Braden Becker

NFVZone Contributor

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