Dell goes big into SDN

Summary:New switch and fabric designed for high density SDN, NFV, and cloud solutions

With the introduction of the Dell Networking Z9500 Ethernet fabric switch, Dell now has the highest density, single form factor (as opposed to a blade chassis type solution) datacenter switch, offering throughput of more than 10 Tbps across as many as 132 40 GbeE ports.

With the ability to expand to 528 10 GbE ports in in either 36, 84, 04 132 pay-as-you go bundled SKUs, Dell is targeting the new switch at datacenters looking for the ultimate in flexibility and growth. The switch supports a full suite of L2/L3 routing and switching protocols, and is not only designed for SDN, but offers the performance and flexibility to be a tempting NFV component to carrier-grade installations.



The switch also looks to offer a more energy efficient solution to customers, with Dell claiming that the power requirements, per port, are half that of networking giant Cisco’s Nexus 6004 product line.

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The switch was announced in conjunction with the Dell Active Fabric controller. Designed from the ground up as an SDN platform, Dell expects it to be used in OpenStack deployments and has it available as an option for their OpenStack-powered cloud solutions. With on-demand custom virtualization that adapts the fabric for the designated workloads, the Active Fabric is appropriate for SDN deployments and delivering NFV functionality to datacenter and cloud networks.

Las month, Dell took leadership responsibility for CloudNFV, an industry consortium that has a focus on delivering a cloud-based NFV model. Dell is doing this in conjunction with their primary partner, Red Hat. The CloudNFV goal is to make an open standard for the cloud-focused NFV model. Technologies such as the new switch and fabric controller software, with their full support for OpenStack and OpenFlow, have become the cornerstones of the cloud-based NFV standards. 

Topics: Cloud, Hardware, Networking


With more than 20 years of published writings about technology, as well as industry stints as everything from a database developer to CTO, David Chernicoff has earned the term "veteran" in the technology world. Currently the principal of an independent consulting business and an active freelance writer, David has most recently been a Seni... Full Bio

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