Dell Adds New Campus & Data Center Networking Products

Dell aims to simplify campus networking with new architecture and builds on its open networking strategy with new data center switch.

Marcia Savage

September 24, 2015

3 Min Read
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Dell today launched a new campus network architecture designed to streamline campus networking as the number of applications, devices and security requirements continue to increase in the enterprise.

The company also announced a new data center switch, the S6100-ON, which expands its open networking portfolio by working with either Dell Networking OS9 or third-party system software.

Dell's new campus networking architecture is comprised of the C9010 Network Director and C1048P Rapid Access Nodes. The C910 is a multi-rate modular switch with a port density of up to 248 10 GbE or 60 GbE ports. The 8RU chassis supports  up to 4,000 1 GbE PoE+ virtual ports via the C1048 and a tool-less upgrade to 100 GbE.

Dell says that by working together, the C9010 and C1048 devices create one logical tier from access to core with centralized security and policy enforcement to simplify campus networking. Dell recommends deploying two C9010s for redundancy.

Figure 1:Dell C9010 Network DirectorDell C9010 Network Director

In an interview, Tom Burns, VP and general manager of Dell Networking, said Dell's new campus networking architecture is designed to provide customers with investment protection because they can implement it over time. Customers can initially deploy the C9010 as a traditional aggregation switch with existing legacy switches from other vendors; they can then add in the C1048P access nodes.

Customers with Dell's N-series switches can convert the devices to access nodes via a software download that will be available in the first quarter of next year.

Dell’s new products "are exactly what we would expect from a company trying to break through into the enterprise networking market," John Fruehe, senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told me in an email interview.

"From their small footprint today, Dell needs to bring in products that can integrate into an existing network instead of expecting customers to throw the incumbent out and shift over to an all-Dell strategy," he said. "Focusing on the campus is an easy way for Dell work their way into larger customers without presenting an undue amount of risk." 

Campus networks are dealing with a variety of end-point devices, a larger number of devices, and increased security requirements," Dan Conde, analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said in an email. "Dell seeks to make it easier to manage and secure these new end-point devices."

Dell's new S6100-ON is an addition to its S-series of data center switches. The company touted it as the industry's first multi-rate, modular in-rack switch. The 2RU device can provide up to 32 ports of 100 GbE, 64 ports of 40 GbE, or 128 ports of 10 GbE. The switch, which targets cloud and big data environments, also supports the new 25 GbE and 50 GbE specifications. Using the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE), the S6100-ON works with software from partners in Dell's open networking initiative.

Burns said Dell is pleased with the progress of its open networking initiative, which the company launched in early 2014 with its Cumulus Networks partnership. It's since also partnered with Big Switch Networks, Pluribus Networks, Midokura, and IP Infusion. Three hundred customers are in various stages of deployment -- from trial to production -- across its open networking ecosystem, according to Dell.

"Customers who are looking at SDN are open to the idea of changing their underlying technology, and much of this will be driven by software, so teaming up with Big Switch, Cumulus, Pluribus and others is a smart move as the software players are going to drive SDN ahead of the hardware vendors," said Moor's Fruehe.

The C9010 and C1048P will begin shipping in October; starting prices are $27,500 and $5,299 respectively. The S6100-ON is scheduled to be available in January; Dell has not yet priced it.

About the Author(s)

Marcia Savage

Executive Editor, Network Computing

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