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Dell SDN’s OS10 promises new levels of network flexibility

Dell expands its SDN product with a new operating system designed to maximise customer choice and capability

Dell Networking has expanded its open networking play with the latest version of its software-defined network (SDN) operating system, OS10, which it claims will allow users to create more efficient and flexible paths across networked systems.

Dell said the unmodified Linux-based system would liberate customers from tightly integrated, supplier-specific stacks, giving users new levels of software flexibility and programmability in large-scale datacentre networking environments, crossing multiple layers including networking, storage and compute.

It will employ the Open Compute Project’s Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI), which allows supplier network operating systems and physical switches to communicate in a common language, giving customers the opportunity to programme their switches with greater levels of detail.

OS10 will also support traditional network functions, such as Layer 2 and 3 protocols from Dell, as well as third-party, native Linux and open source applications.

“Software-defined datacentres require a fresh approach to operations, not just for the network but across compute and storage elements as well,” explained Dell Networking vice president and general manager Tom Burns.

“OS10 gives customers a future-ready springboard to innovate their networks and datacentre infrastructure more quickly and consistently, affording greater efficiency and capability at scale.”

Brad Casemore, IDC’s research director of datacentre networks, added: “It’s worth noting that Dell is also looking beyond networking as an operational silo or a discrete domain, anticipating fast-evolving requirements for consumption models, IT operations and the breaking down of traditional IT silos.”

Dell hopes that OS10 will have broader appeal beyond traditional network operators, and is targeting dev-ops communities seeking a more consistent development environment that spans multiple elements of the average stack.

Read more about SDN operating systems

  • At Huawei Network Congress in Beijing, Huawei unveiled the world’s first software-defined IoT solution and an upgraded, faster SDN cloud fabric.
  • Nokia demonstrates programmable software-defined 5G networking architecture to manage network resources dynamically.
  • TechTarget’s SDN experts explore Juniper’s decoupled QFX5200 switch, the basics of VXLAN and how Cisco’s APIC-EM system lets users ease into SDN.

Nigel Kersten, CIO at Puppet Labs, said the ability to define infrastructure as code was a necessary part of any dev-ops initiative, and enabled practices such as collaboration and continuous delivery.

“It provides one common language that can be shared across traditionally siloed organisations, like development, compute, networking and storage, reducing unnecessary complexity while increasing both speed and availability,” he said.

Dell has been beta-testing OS10 in customer environments, and hopes to ship the base modules by March 2016.

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