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Dell Updates Networking Portfolio



Kuala Lumpur (August 15, 2013) – Dell today announced new additions to its networking portfolio to help customers accelerate transitions to high-performance converged, virtualized and private cloud environments. These include Dell’s new Active Fabric solutions for SDN-enabled designs along with next-generation management software – Dell Active Fabric Manager – and the Dell Networking S5000 modular LAN/SAN switching platform.

Dell Networking: Accelerating Data Center Transformation

Several factors in today’s data centers have operators considering new and different network architectures beyond the traditional three-tier, monolithic systems of the past. Factors include: Virtualization and new workloads changing the network traffic patterns and demands; Software-defined networking (SDN) and the promise of network programmability; convergence of formerly distinct technology silos; and input/output consolidation with migration to 10GbE server platforms. These dynamics present CIOs not just architectural challenges but also budgetary and operational considerations.

Industry analysts at Gartner cite these transformative aspects in its inaugural Magic Quadrant for Data Center Network Infrastructure. “The data center network market has been transformed with new architectures, new technologies and vendors specifically targeting solutions to address the changing size and density of the data center, shifts in traffic patterns, and the increasing requirement to simplify network operations.”

Dell Active Fabric – New Data Centers Need New Network Architectures

Dell Active Fabric describes its approach to providing customers a modern network architecture that takes advantage of today’s technology and provides an easily-scalable path for future growth.

Dell Active Fabric provides a flat, fast, any-to-any multipath network architecture that is flexible and ideally suited for the growing amount of East-West traffic in today’s virtualized data centers and private clouds. Active Fabric solutions flatten the traditional data center network architecture using high-density and low-latency, fixed-form factor 10/40GbE switches that can be deployed quickly and easily while reaching to hyperscale proportions.

According to Gartner’s Rightsizing the Enterprise Data Center Network report, “Newer small form factor core devices can enable network managers to reduce capital costs by 30 percent to 70 percent, and save 30 percent or more on operations expenses, compared with chassis-based switches.”

In line with this, compared to traditional chassis-based network designs, Dell Active Fabric solutions provide up to 59 percent cost savings and consume up to 77 percent less power.

SDN is a logical extension to the enhanced network flexibility Dell Active Fabric solutions provide. The software abstraction layer that SDN delivers is designed to enable open programmability, making infrastructure flexible and adaptable to different customer environments. Additionally, Dell is one of the only vendors to offer a complete and unbiased approach to SDN encompassing networking virtualization overlays (NVO), OpenFlow and legacy interface capabilities.

  • Dell Active Fabric supports NVOs using the leading hypervisors from Microsoft, VMware and OpenStack.
  • Dell Active Fabric supports Open Flow-based controllers from leading vendors including Big Switch Networks.
  • Dell Active Fabric also supports legacy programmatic interfaces including Telnet/CLI, TCL, REST, SNMP, Perl and Python scripting

Defining features of Dell Active Fabric include:

  • Purpose-built for virtualized, converged, and SDN environments
  • High-performance 10GbE & 40GbE L2/L3 multipath fabrics
  • LAN/SAN convergence using Data Center Bridging (iSCSI, Fibre Channel (FC) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)
  • OpenFlow support
  • Standard northbound and southbound interfaces

Dell Active Fabric Manager – Industry-Leading Fabric Automation Software

The Dell Active Fabric Manager is an industry-innovating software tool that automates the tasks associated with planning, designing, building and monitoring fabrics. Dell Active Fabric Manager can reduce deployment time up to 86 percent compared to a completely manual process.

Dell Active Fabric Manager features include:

  • Design wizard – Greatly simplifies the mapping process using an intuitive graphical interface, performing all the necessary calculations to present the optimal fabric design, eliminating guesswork and errors.
  • Automated provisioning, validation and configuration – Provides a step-by-step approach to translate a fabric design to a completely functional deployment and eliminates numerous command line interface entries, a time-consuming and error-prone process.
  • Easy integration, role-based access – Dell Active Fabric Manager abstracts the fabric as a single entity, not at the device level, allowing other tools in the data center to integrate easily. Coupled with this, role-based access allows multiple departments (e.g. server and storage administrators) to monitor different aspects of fabric performance without disrupting the underlying network operations.

Dell Networking S5000 – Slim, Modular Unified Storage Switch

The Dell Networking S5000 is Dell’s first 1U 10/40GbE top-of-rack LAN/SAN switch equipped with native FC and FCoE capabilities. The S5000’s innovative system design is powered by an industry-hardened, and feature-rich operating system for maximum dependability and uptime. Dell Open Automation framework provides integrated automation, scripting and programmable management for enhanced network flexibility in virtualized environments.

Dell Networking S5000 (iii)Key features include:

  • Pay-as-you grow modularity, designed to scale – provides for improved deployment flexibility and IT budget allocation compared to fixed-port switches. The S5000 accommodates four modules allowing customers to populate a single module and add as necessary instead of buying all four modules at once.
  • High-density LAN/SAN convergence – saves on the number of switches and rack space required, the S5000 has up to 1.3 to 2.6 times the port density per rack unit compared to industry alternatives.5 The S5000 has a maximum of 64 x 10GbE ports, or 48 x Ethernet/FC ports with 16 x 10GbE ports.
  • Feature-rich storage networking – complete support for iSCSI, RoCE, NAS, FCoE and FC fabric services, all on the same platform.
  • Future-ready design for maximum investment protection – with the modularity and system design, the S5000 hardware is future-ready to support newer features and options when released without needing to sacrifice existing infrastructure investment.
  • Easy integration, established interoperability with leading adapter, switch and storage vendors including Broadcom, Brocade, Emulex, Intel and Qlogic.


Dell 10G and 40G Active Fabric solutions, Dell Active Fabric Manager v1.5 and Dell Networking S5000 are available now from Dell and its global PartnerDirect channel partners.

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