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Big Switch and Dell Announce SDN/Open Networking Fabric Solution for Hyperscale Data Centers Now Shipping


November 14, 2014

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Big Switch Networks and Dell are now shipping hardware, software, and services that enable Dell to bring key hyperscale networking technologies—SDN software and open networking hardware that enable advanced data center designs—to data centers around the world.

Specifically the two companies are shipping the Dell Networking S4810-ON and S6000-ON switches along with Big Switch's Big Tap SDN Controller software and Switch Light OS. As the partners point out, the combined hardware/software stack enables advanced monitoring designs inspired by hyperscale data center operators, and is what is described as “the first in a series of SDN/open networking Fabric solutions.”

"Dell's open networking strategy is reshaping the networking industry landscape, and we're excited to be working closely with them," said Doug Murray, CEO of Big Switch Networks. "Data center operators using Dell open networking switch hardware can now deploy an integrated Dell/Big Switch solution as part of their migration strategy to SDN."

Inner workings

Back in April of this year the details of an extensive reseller agreement between the companies was revealed whereby Big Switch's Switch Light Operating System would run on Dell's high performance open networking switches, connecting to the Big Switch Big Tap Controller to build advanced monitoring fabrics. It is a broad audience the solutions are aimed at including: enterprises, telecom service providers, and Web 2.0 data center operators who need agile and scalable tool farms for network monitoring, troubleshooting, and security.

As highlighted in the shipping announcement, the partners are pointing the successful integration of Big Switch's SDN software into Dell's open networking initiative. The said effort is aimed at enabling hyperscale data center operators to quickly deploy an integrated SDN technology stack for the monitoring fabrics that connects these tool farms to passive optical taps and span ports in the production network. As they note, “The resulting design is a centralized tool farm architecture inspired by hyperscale data center operators that brings operational simplicity and dramatic reductions in total cost of ownership relative to traditional network packet brokers.”

"Moving from legacy networking to a more advanced open, SDN-based infrastructure is a big leap for many folks, and integrations like this one help enterprises bridge to the future in phases," said Jim Bottum, CIO of Clemson University, one of the country's leading public research universities. "Dell's commitment to research and development has been instrumental in our ability to look ahead to the future of networking, and its integration with Big Switch is further proof of this commitment."

"As enterprises continue to migrate from legacy systems to more advanced hyperscale networking solutions, the Dell open networking Strategy is in place to help provide customer choice—Big Switch's SDN is a key component of this offering," said Adnan Bhutta, Director Global Strategy, Dell Networking. "This migration to an SDN-based environment is a big step for enterprises, and our combined offering helps reassure these folks that they'll be well supported into the future."

It should also be noted that the partners cite the importance of enabling technologies such as Open Network Linux and the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE), both part of the Facebook-started Open Compute Project. The reason is that they are being used to streamline the user experience for Ethernet switching hardware platforms capable of running software from multiple software vendors. In short, open architectures increasingly are the path the industry has rightfully chosen to optimize their ability to enable next generation/transforming data centers to be open for business physically, virtually and financially. 




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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