Dell teams with SDN startup Big Switch on open networking strategy

Summary:The partnership plays into Dell's larger open networking initiative, which steps away from the traditional networking switch model.

Dell has inked a deal with software-defined networking startup Big Switch Networks with the plans to expand its portfolio of open networking hardware and software.

The partnership plays into Dell's larger open networking initiative, which steps away from the traditional networking switch model toward an ecosystem of open standards-based network equipment, operating systems and applications.

Dell boasted that its open networking model will sit in between "white box" and "black box" switching schemes at polar opposites of the spectrum.

Instead, Dell is promising an entire platform comprised of fixed-form factor architectures and Ethernet switches along with planning and deployment support to deliver a complete datacenter solution.

Tom Burns, vice president and general manager of Dell's networking unit, hinted in the announcement that the Round Rock, Texas-headquartered tech company is looking to the Silicon Valley startup for guidance in this new field.

Dell’s push into open networking, and this announcement with Big Switch and other vendors, are great examples of original thinking and innovation coming from the new Dell. We’re seeing tremendous initial customer interest, especially among certain verticals such as large financials, Web 2.0 and mobile service providers. It’s drawing Dell Networking into additional business discussions where many customers may not have considered Dell before.

Together, the companies will deliver a set of new fabrics designed to establish a low-risk, incremental and migratory path to software-defined networking. This includes Dell's SDN controller applications while also integrating Big Switch Networks’ Switch Light operating system on Dell's S4810 and S6000 switches.

The package deal is scheduled to become available during the second quarter of 2014.

Topics: Open Source, Data Management, Dell, Networking, Social Enterprise


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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