Mark Davison at Dell EMC World in Las Vegas – Along with a raft of new products including new servers and a total revamp of its storage portfolio, Dell EMC has also announced new Open Networking capabilities to help customers transform their IT operations to lower IT costs, get quicker returns on investments and deliver new digital capabilities.

As reported throughout the week, the key message from the company has been around digital transformation and how businesses have to adapt to this in order to stay competitive.

But, the company says, digital transformation encompasses other important areas such as IT transformation, workforce transformation and a new focus on security.

A logical first step in IT Transformation, it adds, is to modernise the data centre, automate productivity and change operating models. Flexible network architectures are key to allowing organisations to react quickly to changing business or customer requirements with less disruption and lower costs.

“At Dell EMC, we believe networks work best when open, granting customers of all sizes maximum choice and capability,” says Tom Burns, senior vice-president, Networking, Enterprise Infrastructure & Service Provider, Dell EMC. “By disaggregating networking system software, and by decoupling networking software from hardware platforms, companies can free themselves from the rigid and proprietary environments of yesterday to embrace software-defined principles and unlock innovation at any scale.”

A recent total cost of ownership (TCO) report from ACG Research, partially underwritten by Dell EMC, studied a prominent Tier 1 service provider that did extensive analysis and testing of network functions virtualisation (NFV) models at scale in its national services infrastructure. The Tier 1 service provider chose an open, modular and extensible design as the foundation for deploying key elements in its service delivery PODs (a dimensioned set of infrastructure designed for rapid deployment and replication)  The results show:

  • Five-year cumulative TCO of an open architecture POD (OAP) in this operator’s design is 53% of the cumulative TCO compared to the tightly bundled POD (TBP)
  • Capital expenditures of the OAP are 47% less
  • Five-year operating expenditures of the OAP are 57% of the TBP
  • New application or service creation in the OAP requires 1/3 the time on average
  • Underlying reasons for these advantages are openness in components’ hardware and software designs, extensive automation based on open standards as well as standard application programming interfaces (APIs) and information models

With the new announcements this week, Dell EMC delivers on the promise of software-defined networking (SDN) to make network operations more flexible, programmable and easier to manage. An agile, programmable network is fundamental to transforming IT operations and addressing the ever-changing needs and demands of applications and workloads in the data centre.

Some of the product portfolio include:

  • New S5100-ON series is the industry’s first 25GbE Open Networking switch, offering more than 2x throughput of 10GbE switches for in-rack connectivity. The S5100-ON matches the new Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers shipping with native 25GbE support. The switches 100GbE uplinks are designed for 100GbE fabric connectivity, accelerating rack-to-rack (east-west) network traffic. This is ideal for Web 2.0, enterprise, and cloud service providers looking to maximise application and service performance.
  • New S4100-ON series delivers multifunctional, top-of-rack data centre Open Networking switches optimised for high densities of 10GbE fibre/copper or Fibre Channel 8/16/32 server and converged local area networks (LAN)/storage area networks (SAN) within racks. All of these switches include the high-performance 100GbE uplink ports for inter-rack communication. Included in this family is the S4148U, a new unified switch for both Ethernet and Fibre Channel traffic for connecting to Dell EMC’s storage solutions. This Open Networking switch pushes the upper limits of Fibre Channel connectivity as Dell EMC’s first optimised to support 32Gb Fibre Channel for customers who want to further converge LAN/SAN operations. The S4148U’s unique design enables customers to deploy Ethernet top-of-rack and Fibre Channel switching in the same physical switch or further converge LAN/SAN using Fibre Channel-over-Ethernet.

The S5100-ON and S4100-ON are the first to ship standard with OS10 Enterprise Edition, Dell EMC’s new flagship networking operating system. Based on open source technologies from the Linux Foundation and Open Compute Project, OS10 Enterprise Edition is a next-generation, modular and programmable network operating system designed for both traditional networking and DevOps environments.

The OS10 Enterprise Edition package provides layer 2 and layer 3 networking functionality, but also allows customers to easily customise the software for different environments. Customers can integrate additional open source capabilities, add third-party Linux applications, or develop their own software using standard Linux and DevOps tools.

  • New Dell EMC N1100-ON series is a family of energy-efficient and cost-effective switches for campus environments. The series includes a number of fan-less switches in half and full width options, Power over Ethernet (POE/POE+) and non-POE versions, and port configurations from 10/100/1000Mbps to 1/10GbE. The N1100-ON series switches are designed to pair with Aerohive’s HiveManager NG – a next-generation cloud-based management solution that greatly simplifies end-user wired and wireless access, setting a new standard for network convergence by bringing enterprise-class management to the public or private cloud.

The new N1100 switches support IoT initiatives and workforce transformations that drive a wireless-first work space, where end users and access points get connected wherever they are located. Ideal for small to medium size business environments, the switches complement the recently announced N3100-ON and N2100-ON switches designed for larger campus environments. The N3100-ON and N2100-ON switches are Multi-Gig Open Networking switches optimised for emerging 2.5GbE/5GbE high speed campus networking to enable next generation wireless LAN infrastructure in the enterprise.