Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dell Debuts Ethernet Fabric Switch and Active Fabric Controller

Dell made two significant networking announcements:  the introduction of a new, high-density Ethernet fabric switch for scale-out data centers; and the launch of an Active Fabric Controller for zero-touch provisioning and orchestration of virtualized networking functions and services.

  • The new Dell Networking Z9500 Fabric Switch, which is designed for 10/40 GbE aggregation in large data centers, is the highest-density fixed-form factor data center switch with a full suite of L2/L3 routing and switching protocols. It delivers up to three times the density per RU and throughput of more than 10 Tbps with one half the latency compared to Dell’s previous generation switches.  The 3RU core switch can scale up to 132 40GbE ports and up to 528 10GbE ports.  It offers "pay-as-you-go" licensing for 36, 84, or 132 port SKUs.  Dell said the new switch consumes approximately half the power per port of the Cisco Nexus 6004.
  • The new Dell Active Fabric Controller is a purpose-built SDN platform targeted for enterprise OpenStack deployments and as an optional component of Dell OpenStack-Powered cloud solutions.  It works with OpenStack applications to deliver workload and policy awareness. The Active Fabric Controller allows for insertion of service appliances including firewall, load balancing and wide area network optimization.  It delivers customized policy, enabling on-demand customized virtual fabrics that adapts whenever workloads are started, stopped or modified, enhancing the security, performance and efficiency for each application.  Dell said its Active Fabric Controller serves a fundamental building block on both enterprise control software as well as a key element of accelerating NFV deployments with its integration into OpenStack.

“Dell is committed to changing the game in networking. As a follow on to our recent Open Networking announcement, I’m excited about demonstrating more innovation in bringing new and open solutions to our customers regardless of size,” said Tom Burns, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking. “We’re extending our leadership in SDN, NFV, and advanced new architectures that maximize customer choice and provide superior economics to the way networking has always been done.”


  • In February 2013, Dell advanced its strategy for cloud data centers with the introduction of a top-of-rack switch with 40G fabric uplinks and Fibre Channel over Ethernet , high performance 10/40G blade switching products, and the commercial release of OpenFlow software-defined networking in the Force10 operating system.
    Dell said these additions underline its commitment to software-defined infrastructure. The company is pursuing a "complete and unbiased approach to SDN" by embracing legacy networking environments, greenfield controller-based deployments as well as hypervisor-oriented architectures.

  • OpenStack Networking (Neutron) to enable Software-Defined Networking and Networking-as-a-Service between interface devices such as virtual network interface cards, and
  • OpenStack Telemetry (Ceilometer) to provide OpenStack resource instrumentation, which can help support service monitoring and customer billing systems.