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Dell preps open networking system

Dell is hoping to challenge networking incumbents by offering a platform that disaggregates hardware and software and rides on open source.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Dell's networking unit on Wednesday outlined its Operating System 10 platform, which aims to disaggregate hardware and the underlying software.

In data centers, networking players are increasingly decoupling their operating systems from their hardware. Cisco, Juniper, Arista, Brocade and others have moved to offer their networking software separate from hardware. For a challenger like Dell, the move toward more choice in networking software could be an opportunity.

As networking becomes software defined, enterprises are more likely to pick open platforms that allow them to swap vendors and gear. Hewlett Packard Enterprise has been building out its open network functions virtualization portfolio. HPE also launched an open source OS in October focused on networking.

Dell's pitch with Operating System 10 (OS10) revolves around open networking. The base module for OS10 runs a free unmodified version of Linux. Underneath that base module is the Open Compute Project Switch Abstraction Interface. Dell's networking platform is designed for large scale data centers.

In a graphic, Dell's OS10 looks like this:

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On top of the base, OS10 aims to support native Linux, third party and open source applications. Dell is hoping that OS10 will appeal to network operators as well as DevOps teams looking for one OS that can manage server, storage and networking.

Dell said the base OS10 module will ship in March and additional application modules will go into beta later this year.

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