With the release of the latest version of their Force10 top-of-rack switch, Dell adds Open Flow management and 10 GBase-T to enable high-performance datacenter interconnects, as well as support for cloud infrastructures and storage networking over copper.
With the S4820 and its 48 10 GbE SFP+ ports and the S4820T and its support for cat 6 & 7 copper cabling, Dell covers the different level of requirements that most datacenter customer need in their top-of-rack switches. Up to 6 of the S series switches can be combined in a single domain, interconnected over four 40 GbE QSFP+ ports. If interconnection isn’t required these ports can be repurposed by being split into 16 additional 10 GbE ports (these ports however, will require SFP+ connections).
Dell is also targeting this series of switches at the LAN/SAN convergence market, supporting Fiber Channel over Ethernet on twisted pair cabling. They claim that they are one of the first companies offering a switch to support this technology.
OpenFlow v1.0 protocol support is being added to the Forece10 operating system FTOS 9.1 and higher. This is only available at launch in the Force10 S4810 and Z9000 switches, but will soon make its way to the new S4820 and S4820T.
The S4810 switch is almost three years old and was launched well before Dell acquired Force 10 in 2011. The newest generation of switches highlights the integration of the Force10 acquisition as part of the main line of Dell networking and infrastructure technologies.