Dell Hedges Bet on Virtual Networking

Mike Vizard
Slide Show

What Business Leaders Need to Know About Virtualization

Like so many vendors this week, Dell was foremost among those companies that came to VMworld 2013 conference to lavish praise on VMware.

As part of that effort, Dell announced support for the new network virtualization platform being built by VMware, while also announcing that its Active Fabric Manager can now be used to manage VMware virtual switches.

In addition, Dell unveiled a 1u 10/40Gb Ethernet switch that has twice as many ports as the previous version, while consuming half as much power.

But from there, Dell is being careful to hedge its bets in a networking world defined by heterogeneity. Dell, for example, will offer the same level of support for the virtual LAN technology used by Microsoft in Hyper-V virtualization environments. In addition, Arpit Joshipura, vice president of marketing and product management for Dell Networking, says Dell will go one step further by also making it easier to deploy its switches in environments that have standardized on a proprietary Cisco management architecture.

In general, Joshipura says Dell is excited to see networking becoming easier to manage at a higher level of abstraction in virtual data center environments that are typically very dense in terms of the number of virtual servers that need to be supported. Joshipura says rapidly growing virtual server environments put pressure on the network, which IT organizations now want to expand in a more modular fashion.

That means instead of buying massive switches every five years or so, Joshipura says organizations are now adding smaller switches every 18 to 24 months to keep pace with growing demand.

Clearly, the forthcoming unification of virtual and physical networking under the auspices of a virtual data center is going to be a boon to IT; it’s just that more than likely most organizations are going to have multiple instances of virtual data centers that will all need to be supported by the same underlying network.

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