Dell Strengthens Virtual Network Architecture Portfolio to Help Customers Deliver Results Faster

Dell announced new hardware and software additions to its Virtual Network Architecture portfolio, an open networking framework for efficient IT management and workload intelligence. Dell introduced the Dell Force10 MXL 10/40GbE switch, its first 40 gigabit blade server switch for the Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade system, designed to support demanding workloads in traditional, virtual, public and private cloud environments.

Adding high-performance server blade switching expands customers’ architecture options and extends Dell’s abilities to deliver end-to-end 10 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) solutions across its server, storage and networking portfolio. This Dell infrastructure can deliver up to 10 times greater application performance for decision support and business intelligence workloads.[1]

Dell will demonstrate technologies and innovations from its Virtual Network Architecture (VNA) portfolio at Interop Las Vegas 2012 and share more of its vision for networking and IT during a keynote address by Dario Zamarian, Dell Networking vice president and general manager, on May 8.

Delivering Results Faster - Dell Force10 MXL 10/40GbE Switch
Dell Force10’s VNA portfolio for virtualizing, automating and orchestrating networking functions and services is significantly strengthened and can outpace the competition with the introduction of its first 40GbE-enabled blade server switch, the Dell Force10 MXL 10/40GbE. This builds on Dell’s industry-leading position in 40GbE shipments, according to Dell’Oro Group.2

The Dell Force10 MXL 10/40GbE blade switch brings unprecedented bandwidth capacity to the Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade chassis, addressing the diverse needs of environments including data centres in large enterprises, government networks, education and research institutions, and high performance computing. The full-featured 1/10/40GbE Layer 2 and Layer 3 blade switch is powered by the Force10 operating system (FTOS) and provides increased bandwidth, scalability, performance and operational simplicity for blades at data centre and campus environments. FTOS powers some of the largest and most demanding data centre environments in the world providing predictable, reliable network performance while reducing operations and management overhead. Key benefits of the Dell Force10 MXL 10/40GbE switch include:

  • Built-in Ethernet stacking technology: Customers can consolidate ports and deploy a cost effective pay-as-you grow solution. Ethernet stacking enables up to six switching modules within a single enclosure or spanning multiple enclosures to be managed as one logical device.
  • Performance-optimized engineering: High performance Ethernet switching purpose-built for new workloads and demanding East-West (or intra-chassis) traffic patterns, bringing high-density, high scalability, low-latency 10/40GbE to the Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade enclosure.
  • Flexible connectivity options: Networking flexibility with FlexIO modules delivering support for 40GbE QSFP+, 10GbE SFP+, and 10GBase-T ports.
  • Integrated storage support: Flexibility of converged input/output (I/O) support for end-to-end IP storage (iSCSI and Data Centre Bridging) into a single 10GbE connection helping to enhance efficiency and reducing costs.

Dell also introduced enhancements to the management software in its portfolio to simplify IT operations and help customers save time and money.

Dell Force10 Operating System Enhancements New enterprise data centre FTOS features designed principally for the S4810 10/40G top-of-rack system include:

  • Support for Layer 2 multipath technology-Virtual Link Trunking (VLT)-an innovative technology allowing improved scalability and control in Layer 2 switching environments.
  • Ethernet switch stacking technology to simplify management in large-scale switch deployments.
  • Data Centre Bridging (DCB) support enabling a lossless Ethernet fabric for converging storage (iSCSI, Fibre Channel) and data over common infrastructure.
  • Automated workload mobility by auto-provisioning virtual LANs when virtual machines are migrated without intervention - with open hypervisor support for maximum customer choice and flexibility.

Dell Fabric Manager Dell also announced Dell Fabric Manager, a new offering designed expressly for configuring, managing and monitoring Dell Distributed Core deployments in data centres. Dell’s Distributed Core architecture - a “spine-and-leaf” data centre fabric architecture - offers an increasingly popular alternative to traditional, chassis-based architectures especially in high-performance environments where performance, resiliency, flexibility and cost-effectiveness are equally valued. Dell Fabric Manager provides a single, system-level view into Distributed Core deployments of any size designed to greatly reduce configuration time, and simplifying ongoing management and monitoring.

Open Manage Network Manager 5.0 Dell introduced the fifth version of Open Manage Network Manager, (OMNM) a single console for all network management functions of existing and future Dell networking platforms in branch, campus and data centre networks. OMNM helps lower network total cost of ownership by automating network management functions and increasing network uptime through diagnostic, network monitoring and backup/restore capabilities. Customers can deploy in hours, not weeks or months, without requiring any agent updates.

New features of OMNM 5.0 include:

  • Easier installation and use of switches through a redesigned web based GUI.
  • Support for Dell’s full product line of switches including Dell Force10 and W-Series controllers and wireless access points.
  • Traffic flow analysis helps maintain optimum performance configurations.
  • Resource group management provides one-to-many switch configuration.

Demonstrating New SDN-Based Network Virtualization and Multi-Tenancy Solutions Dell unveiled innovations in Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to increase control, customization and optimization of virtual networking operations, and ultimately reduce costs. At Interop Las Vegas 2012, Dell will demonstrate new SDN-based solutions showcasing the ease with which customers can virtualize their infrastructures and enable multi-platform orchestration and multi-tenancy.

As part of this, Dell also announced interoperability with Big Switch Networks Open SDN ™ architecture. Big Switch Networks delivers cloud networking solutions based on open standards such as OpenFlow, providing customers more networking choices within the SDN ecosystem.

Additional live VNA demonstrations at Interop Las Vegas 2012 will include:

  • The Dell Fabric Manager for distributed core management announced.
  • Automated workload mobility featuring automated VM-VLAN configuration/reconfiguration.
  • Virtual machine tunneling featuring Microsoft Hyper-V over Layer 2/3 infrastructure.

“As customers move to embrace 10GbE across their IT operations, including servers, storage and networking, Dell is the clear choice to help in all these areas,” said Dario Zamarian, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking. “Dell is helping its customers optimize their infrastructure today while architecting for greater intelligence and capability into the future.”

“We are witnessing a surge in market adoption of 10GbE as customers are adopting integrated data center networking architectures like the ones we’re seeing from Dell with its Force10 systems,” said Cindy Borovick, Program Vice President, Enterprise and Datacenter Networks. “These integrated solutions Dell is developing across both 10GbE and now 40GbE networking fabrics are able to connect 10GbE servers, storage and networking for customers building out public and private cloud environments.”

“We are pleased to see Dell being part of our Open SDN ecosystem." says Guido Appenzeller, Big Switch Networks CEO and co-founder. "Both companies share the same belief in open standards as a critical piece to delivering on the promises of SDN and their associated benefits to our customers.”

The Dell Force10 MXL 10/40G switch for the Dell M1000e chassis and the Dell Fabric Manager will be available in summer 2012. The Open Manage Network Manager 5.0 is currently available.

1- Based on testing from Dell labs in February 2012 measuring sequential read I/O over previous generation 2- Based on “4Q11 Ethernet Switch Layer 2+3 Quarterly Report”, Dell’Oro Group, January 2012

 [April 25, 2012]

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