Dell has announced a flurry of networking announcements. They have announced a new jointly integrated wireless-wired solution with Aerohive aimed at the campus and branch environments. They have heralded new open networking initiatives with new projects including the Open Compute Project’s SONiC initiative, and expansions of relationships with Ansible, F5 and Silverpeak. Finally, they have supplemented their data centre offerings with two new in-rack systems.
‘We are making multiple announcements that complement each other – with one specifically on the campus side and another on the data centre,” said Jeff Baher, Senior Director, Product/Solutions/Technical Marketing at Dell.
Dell and Aerohive began their partnership a year ago, with Dell agreeing to resell Aerohive’s wireless access points.
“Aerohive initially gained traction with their controllerless architecture, providing a simpler path to standing up access points,” Baher said. “Their focus on simplicity is complemented by what they are doing around network management, where they are cloud-first. They are not cloud-only – they can also be hosted on-site, but they lead with cloud, and that is how we see IT services increasingly being consumed.”
The new announcement makes an integrated Dell-Aerohive solution available for the first time.
“Until now, we haven’t had this level of integration with our N-series switches and their access points,” Baher said. The new co-branded cloud-managed solution integrates and manages both wired and wireless infrastructure. The co-branded solution, HiveManager NG, incorporates Dell N-Series switches and Aerohive access points into a next-generation cloud-based management solution.
“Aerohive offers a wide range of wireless access points, but what’s new here is the ability to deploy and manage wireless and wired together. That’s significant. The second important element here is the shift of management to the cloud.”
The co-branded offering will be sold through and supported through Dell, although Aerohive will be supporting Dell. Customers will have a single number to call. Dell ProSupport proactive and predictive automated support is available with the licenses.
“Aerohive would like to sell to larger customers, and nothing in their technology limits its ability to get to large enterprises, but we expect that the most activity we will see with this will be in the mid-market and SMBs,” Baher said.
The second component of the Dell announcement revolves around Dell announcing new Open Networking collaborations. Dell is one of the core supporters of the OCP’s SONiC effort, which aims to open source all the components needed to build fully-functional networking software. Dell has now successfully integrated its OS10 base software to serve as a foundational element for SONiC.
“OS10 is our major contribution to SONiC, and we wanted to send it through the open source community,” Baher said. “With SONiC, you now have the ability to mix and match at the silicon layer, the OS layer and the application layer. That’s enormous for cloud providers with tens of thousands of switches, who don’t want to get locked in. Servers and storage have been there at that point for a while. For networking though, it’s now at a new level of maturity where there’s a level of disaggregation that can take place through OCP’s efforts.”
Dell also announced expanded open source relationships with three partners: Ansible (recently acquired by Red Hat), F5 and Silverpeak.
“We have worked with all three of these before, with various levels of integration with their applications,” Baher said. “We have never had this level of integration before, with network operating systems. There have been API connections, but never hosted in an network operating system like this before.”
Ansible Tower by Red Hat is an enterprise configuration management tool that powers enterprise automation by adding control, security and delegation capabilities. The integration with OS10 lets customers easily deploy Dell switches into their automated IT environment. F5 with OS10 delivers load balancing over active-active clusters across network services for scale out deployments, with OS10 optimally distributing flows to F5 nodes. Finally, direct integration of Silver Peak’s Edge Connect SD-WAN with OS10 provides open source SD-WAN interconnects between data centre and branch offices.
Dell also announced new in-rack platforms for the data centre designed to accelerate the transformation from 1G to 10G in the rack, a process that analysts expect will see most of the 1G units retired over the next four years. Both have significant new connectivity and silicon capabilities compared to their replacements.
The Dell Networking S4048T is a purpose-built 10GBase-T 1RU switch for copper-based server, and storage, connectivity. It has 50 per cent less latency and 40 per cent higher buffering compared to the current generation it replaces.
The Dell Networking S6010-ON is designed for demanding data centre environments to provide optimum density and price point. It has four times larger Access Control List and 30 per cent higher buffering than the present generation. Both switches will begin shipping in mid-May.