Why the future of networking is open


by Joe Curtis| 04 February 2014

Dell reveals why it is betting big on software-defined networking.

Dell set out its stall last month by announcing its support for the open-source network, widely hailed for offering customers more choice and flexibility in choosing the operating systems, networking equipment and network applications that best suit them.

The recently privatised firm hopes its fresh approach will disrupt the status quo of networking giants like Cisco, HP and Juniper Networks, and has already revealed its latest product, a networking switch powered by Cumulus Networks' Linux-based OS.

The offering means customers can break free of vendor lock-in, with Dell claiming this will lower TCOs for companies by allowing them to pick and choose from the large ecosystem of Linux applications.

And Dominique Vanhamme, Dell's EMEA head of networking, says the open-source approach is a direct result of the company's decision to plump for the software-defined networking (SDN) approach, where there is no hardware tie-in for customers wanting to deploy Dell's technology.

He explains: "We're really pushing the envelope now. It's SDN that allows us to be much more open standard-based compared to proprietary architecture where vendor lock-in is the norm."

Vanhamme spoke to CBR about the biggest trends we're likely to see Dell exploring in 2014.

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