Dell Weaves a Simpler Ethernet Fabric

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    After acquiring Force10 Networks in 2011, Dell has been trying to make itself a force to be reckoned with in enterprise networking.

    To extend that effort, Dell today unveiled a new fabric switch that it claims is the industry’s densest, alongside a new controller that simplifies the process associated with setting up an Ethernet fabric.

    As a 3RU device, the Dell Networking Z9500 Ethernet fabric switch provides up to 132 40GbE ports and is expandable to 528 10GbE ports. According to Arpit Joshipura, vice president of product marketing and management for Dell Networking, the Z9500 switch provides more than 10 Tbps at 40 percent lower latency than other switches.

    Joshipura says the switch is designed to support 1, 10 and 40G Ethernet deployments, because customers are on different points of the journey in terms of embracing network virtualization across an Ethernet fabric.

    To make that journey easier, the Dell Active Fabric Controller provides a zero-touch ability for OpenStack environments that Joshipura says reduces the complexity associated with deploying an Ethernet fabric.

    Joshipura adds that as IT organizations gear up to make the shift to network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networks enabled by Ethernet fabrics, Dell sees an opportunity to disrupt a market that has been long dominated by vendors such as Cisco. So, Dell is also offering a pay-as-you-go licensing option for 36, 84, or 132 port SKUs in a fixed form factor switch.

    IT organizations don’t typically replace switches very often. But thanks to the convergence of multiple emerging networking technologies, enterprise networks as we once knew them are rapidly becoming obsolete. Given all that disruption, Dell clearly thinks that as a private entity, there’s no time like the present to offer a new approach or a new networking vendor to deliver it at a much lower cost.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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