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Dell makes waves in open networking

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Dell has extended its reach in open networking with the announcement of Operating System 10 (OS10) from Dell Networking.
This next-generation networking software is designed to introduce new levels of software flexibility and programmability in large-scale data centre environments. The OS10 software environment advances the functionality of modern data centres by disaggregating network software, so customers have more choice in how software is used throughout IT operations.
“Modern, software-defined, data centres require a fresh approach to operations – not just for the network, but across compute and storage elements as well,” says Tom Burns, vice=president and GM of Dell Networking and Enterprise Infrastructure. “OS10 gives customers a future-ready springboard to innovate their networks and data centre infrastructure more quickly and consistently, affording customer’s greater efficiency and capability at scale.”
“OS10 represents an interesting new direction for Dell as it continues to extend and enhance its networking portfolio with innovations in software and hardware,” says Brad Casemore, research director: datacentre networks at IDC. “It’s worth noting that Dell also looking beyond networking as an operational silo or a discrete domain, anticipating fast-evolving requirements for consumption models, IT operations and the breaking down of traditional IT silos.
The OS10 platform is designed around new benchmarks for open software modularity so users can create the most efficient and flexible paths across networked systems. OS10 is comprised of a base module and various optional application modules. Now, what had formerly been bundled into tightly-integrated, vendor-specific stacks, has been separated to enhance customer choice, control and programmability.
* OS10 Base Module – The OS10 Base Module is available for free and runs a fully-open, unmodified Linux distribution. Linux is one of the most widely-used operating systems and can provide a common language across multiple IT layers including networking, storage and compute. The OS10 Base Module can leverage the Linux community-based benefits which can help enhance its programmability, portability, and flexibility for the application layer above it. Below it, the OS 10 Base Module employs the Open Compute Project Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) that enables a common, programmer-friendly language between vendor network operating systems and the particular silicon residing on the physical switch. Today, SAI helps web-scale companies and cloud providers take advantage of the latest silicon innovation by enabling them to program the switches more granularly.
* OS10 Application Modules – On top of the base module, OS10 can support traditional networking functions (L2/L3 protocols) from Dell as well as numerous third-party, native Linux, and open source applications such as IP, fabric and security services combined with management and automation tools. This allows customers to tailor IT operations for different use case and operational processes.
OS10’s unmodified Linux base provides distinct advantages as customers increasingly look to design applications and data centres across server, storage and networking – not just one silo. While OS10 will have appeal for traditional network operators seeking conventional programming means, the software will also appeal to DevOps communities seeking a consistent, common development environment across server, storage and networking elements.