Dell will begin offering a choice of third-party operating systems for its networking systems, ushering in a new vision for data center networking based on an open ecosystem of in which customers can choose among various industry-standard networking gear, network applications and network operating systems to meet their business needs.
In this effort, Dell announced a re-seller agreement with Cumulus Networks - maker of the first Linux operating system for bare-metal networking devices - to support a new disaggregated networking model for its fixed-configuration switches. The first move is to begin offering the Cumulus Linux network OS as an option for its Dell Networking S6000 and S4810 top-of-rack switches.
Dell said its decision to pursue the open model was driven by new dynamics brought on by software-defined networking, virtual machine mobility, shifting networking patterns from North-South to East-West, cloud computing, resource pooling and the need for server-like automation led Dell to help pioneer an Ethernet fabric model using fixed-form factor switches.
“This is a great example of innovation coming from the new Dell. Networking is an industry crying out for disruption. We’ve done this before with PCs and servers, putting us in the best position to offer a choice of network operating systems,” said Tom Burns, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking. “Networks are like human minds - they work better when open.”
“Dell is fundamentally changing the nature of the networking business, and this partnership with Cumulus Networks represents a definitive step towards disaggregating hardware and software,” said JR Rivers, co-founder and CEO of Cumulus Networks. “In this new open, multi-vendor ecosystem that’s becoming all the more prevalent, the customer finally gets to choose exactly the components they need to build the software-defined datacenter of the future without having to worry about vendor lock-in.”