Dell EMC S-Series data center switches Dell EMC
Dell EMC S-Series data center switches

Here's All the New Data Center Network Tech Dell EMC is Launching this Year

Fall launch includes new switches (25 Gig and otherwise), fabric automation, and a full SD-WAN solution

It's fall launch time at Dell EMC -- meaning it's time for the company to roll out new and enhanced systems for data centers. "Launch" might be a bit of a misnomer, however, because some items on this list won't be available until later in the year.

The list, which addresses everything from data center performance issues to complete SD-WAN solutions, starts with switches.

Dell EMC S4200-ON

The company's literature says this is a "purpose-built" switch for deployment at the top of the rack, as well as for data center interconnect applications.

"We're leveraging the latest in merchant silicon to produce a new platform to improve performance in the data center for applications within the rack," Jeff Baher, Dell EMC's executive director of networking, told Data Center Knowledge in an interview. "But it allows us to introduce new routing capabilities, so you can now position the same product for use in situations where you would have previously been using higher-end routing platforms."

In other words, some of those top-of-the-line and oh-so-expensive routers aren't necessary anymore. Dell calls this "potentially disruptive" and makes a few bullet points about what users can expect:

  • 500X larger buffers than standard Dell EMC 10/100GbE switching platforms, boosting East-West traffic and distributed application performance making it ideal for virtualized environments.
  • 15X larger tables than standard Dell EMC 10/100GbE switching platforms for use in Data Center Interconnect and full routing applications.
  • Up to 10X performance increase for Big Data environments compared to standard Dell EMC ToR plaforms.
  • Up to 2-3X cost savings for interconnect applications compared to proprietary wide-area routing platforms.

The 25GbE Data Center

For those looking for better data center performance, Dell EMC launched its first 25GbE switch in the spring and unveiled another one today.

"The market is expected to take off next year with a pretty aggressive move from 10 gig to 25 gig for the more performance-demanding applications and compute environment," Baher explained. "They're anticipating a pretty aggressive move -- more aggressive than the move from one gig to 10 gigs. Because 25 gigs is backwards compatible, we're offering different capabilities for customers who either want to have a more smooth introduction of 25 gigs versus those who want to more aggressively move to that."

There are two basic upgrade paths available:

  • The first leverages the new Dell EMC Networking S5048 25/100GbE switch and is intended for those wanting to extend their current 10GbE environments while having the built-in capability to move to 25GbE when performance dictates. Customers simply upgrade service NICs from 10GbE to 25GbE when ready or upgrade to higher-performing servers with native 25GbE capabilities and connect to the 25GbE-ready S5048.
  • The second is "intended for customers seeking maximum compute and network performance." It combines Dell EMC PowerEdge 14G servers, 25GbE NICs and the recently introduced OS10-based S5148 switch. While also backward compatible to 10GbE, the S5148 switch combined with OS10 Enterprise Edition provides leading edge fabric and automation capabilities for private cloud environments.

SmartFabric Services Automation

Dell EMC has upgraded its OS10 Open Networking Enterprise Edition software to version 10.4, which introduces new SmartFabric Services.

"It allows you to reduce a number of steps that you previously had to do in a manual way to configure and monitor each individual device," said Baher. "This allows all of the switches, no matter how many are deployed, to be seen as a logical entity that you can manage and manipulate as a single device."

According to Dell, SmartFabric Services offer:

  • Autonomous fabric service capability to build and manage leaf-and-spine fabrics
  • Network state-aware automation to scale fabric operations up and out, providing zero-touch expansion, topology validation, and upgrade assistance
  • Autonomous self-building, self-managing, and self-healing fabrics at scale
  • Single-pane of glass management to manage all fabric switches as one logical chassis.

Ready Nodes SD-WAN Solution

Today's wide area networks definitely aren't your father's WANs. For one thing, much private WAN traffic is likely to travel across the public internet -- something that would've been unthinkable in days gone by. For this project, Dell EMC is partnering with SD-WAN software vendors Versa, VeloCloud, and Silver Peak. It's offered as a plug-and-play solution in what Dell EMC is calling Ready Nodes.

"These are bundles of different software titles for software defined WAN, combined with options of different hardware platforms at different performance and price points," Baher said.

Again, everything isn't available today. According Dell EMC release notes, the only part of today's launch that's currently ready to be shipped are the Ready Nodes with Silver Peak Systems and Versa Networks. Everything else is "expected to become available in the fourth quarter of this year."

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