Dell extends Edge, reveals 5G and Open RAN services

Technology giant continues with its advancement into the world of telecoms with offerings designed to automate the deployment and management of open, cloud-native network infrastructure to fast-track opportunities at the edge

In a significant broadening of its offerings into the communications world, Dell Technologies has introduced telecom software, solutions and services to help communications service providers (CSPs) accelerate their open, cloud-native network deployments and create new revenue opportunities at the edge.

The company has announced edge solutions across its infrastructure and PC portfolio to help organisations simplify deployments and capture more value from data generated and processed outside the traditional datacentre and public cloud. The envisaged scope ranges from rugged and remote locations to retail stores and factory floors.

In addition, to support what it expects to be a massive growth of data from 5G applications and services as CSPs move compute infrastructure to the edge, Dell has also introduced advances in Open RAN (ORAN).

While it sees such technologies as giving CSPs a broader set of options for deploying network infrastructure to support future growth, Dell believes there is a trend leading to a large, geographically distributed, open compute deployment that can be difficult to deploy and manage. The technologies are seen as being able to address this new reality.

“Technology leaders are facing the very tall order of finding the right infrastructure to manage data at the edge and the right solutions to capture value from that data to make real-time, data-driven decisions,” said Matthew Eastwood, senior vice-president at research firm IDC. “The Dell Technologies edge portfolio, spanning infrastructure, PC and services, helps organisations of all sizes make sense of their data.”

The new suite is led by Dell EMC VxRail satellite nodes which are designed to bring operational model and efficiencies to edge sites with a reduced infrastructure footprint. Said to be the only HCI solution jointly engineered with VMware, VxRail satellite node single-node deployments are designed to automate day-to-day operations, health monitoring and lifecycle management from a centralised location without the need for local technical and specialised resources.

The Validated Design for Manufacturing Edge with Litmus technology is intended to help businesses connect, manage and orchestrate disparate industrial edge devices, data and applications, from the factory floor to the enterprise cloud, with no programming required.

Read more about Open RAN technology

Dell said that with its offering, manufacturers can make quick decisions to repair equipment before it fails, improve production quality and save costs with real-time data analytics and centralised device management provided by the enterprise-grade Litmus Industrial IoT edge platform. Built on Dell EMC VxRail or PowerEdge servers, with the option to use VMware Edge Compute Stack, it is the second solution from Dell Technologies aiming to help businesses tackle manufacturing edge deployment complexity.

Other edge services include the 5G-capable EMC Edge Gateway Dell EMC Edge Gateway, to connect multiple edge devices across OT and IT environments, and the EMC Streaming Data Platform (SDP) to add enhanced GPU optimisation to ingest streaming video in a lower latency and frame rate environment as well as support real-time analytics.

In the pure-play telecoms domain, Dell Technologies’ Bare Metal Orchestrator telecom software automates the deployment and management of hundreds of thousands of servers across geographic locations to support ORAN and 5G deployments.

The company’s first software to come from its Project Metalweaver initiative, Bare Metal Orchestrator is designed to give CSPs the tools to discover and inventory servers, bring them online, and deploy software, regardless of where they reside in the network.

With declarative automation, Bare Metal Orchestrator instructs targeted servers what to do, so that tasks and workflows – such as deploying software stacks and workloads – can be completed without human intervention. The software combines open standards technology with Dell Technologies’ intellectual property.

Dell claims that with Bare Metal Orchestrator, CSPs can eliminate days or weeks of configuration and provisioning to bring network hardware into a workload-ready state. This reduces the time it takes for an open network to deliver differentiated, profitable services at scale.

Reducing operational costs

Over time, the software can reduce operational costs by orchestrating server lifecycle management, and minimising errors and reliance on IT expertise. ACG Research estimates up to 57% OpEx savings for CSPs deploying Bare Metal Orchestrator in their networks.

“As we prepare for the future of 5G mobility and edge, we at T-Mobile have been closely collaborating with Dell Technologies to develop a product that allows engineers to drastically reduce the time spent managing thousands of servers across hundreds of sites,” said Quaid Campbell, director of network engineering cloud services at T-Mobile.

“Solutions like Bare Metal Orchestrator allow us to focus on building out new strategic services, automating server provisioning and management tasks to software systems instead of engineers.”

Caroline Chappell, research director at Analysys Mason, said: “The industry is making progress towards Open RAN networks, but network operators are challenged with how to operate them cost-effectively at massive scale.

“To keep pace with innovation, telecom operators require more agile ways to deploy and manage their network infrastructure. Bare metal orchestrators, such as Dell Technologies’ software, will be key to the flexible and efficient automation of the heterogeneous bare metal environments operators tell us they need to underpin cloud-native open RAN functions.”

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