The Dell S600 - one of the switches in Dell's open network portfolio. (Photo: Dell)

The Dell S600 - one of the switches in Dell's open network portfolio. (Photo: Dell)

Dell and Big Switch Partner on SDN Solution

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In response to strong customer demand for migration paths to software-defined networks (SDN) Dell and Big Switch Networks announced a strategic agreement that has Dell reselling the Big Switch Big Tap application and the Switch Light Operating System, running on Dell’s high performance Open Networking switches. Dell also announced plans to advance its open-networking initiative which redefines traditional networking switch models to help customers develop future-ready data centers.

The agreement will help deliver next-generation SDN fabrics and fills a critical gap in realizing the true promise of the software-defined data center. Dell will offer Big Switch Networks’ Switch Light OS on Dell Networking’s Ethernet switching portfolio, starting with the S4810 and S6000 series. Dell will also offer Big Switch Networks’ production-ready SDN controller applications starting with the Big Tap Monitoring, a new SDN-based network monitoring solution. The combined Dell and Big Switch Big Tap Monitoring solution is a strong candidate for an enterprise’s initial SDN deployment as it operates on the monitoring network and can be deployed incrementally.

“The early adopters of SDN were largely the hyperscale players. But with the advent of initiatives such as Open Networking from Dell, the path for all enterprises to enjoy the benefits of SDN is getting easier,” said Douglas Murray, CEO of Big Switch Networks. “The joint solutions coming from the Dell and Big Switch partnership will bring hyperscale data center design and choice to a broader audience.”

The Dell and Big Switch partnership continues to illustrate Dell’s approach to an open ecosystem of standards-based network equipment, networking operating systems and network applications. Dell expects to begin offering switches with Big Switch Networks Switch Light operating system and the Big Switch Networks Big Tap Monitoring Fabric controller in the second quarter of 2014.

“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, “said Tom Burns, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking. “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.”

“The future is SDN-based with open software and hardware. We need a practical way to get from here to there,” said Jim Bottum, CIO, Clemson University, one of the country’s most selective public research universities. “Currently, we purchase Dell and Big Switch Networks products independently. Having them team for a fully-integrated, tested and supported solution is ideal. To me, it’s a great example of the new Dell investing in research and development to help us bridge the gap between traditional networking and SDN.”

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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