Dell partners up to address the networking needs of the digital enterprise

Works with Aerohive to deliver unified network management, teams with others to develop solutions around OS10

Dell partners up to address the networking needs of the digital enterprise

Dell has made a tremendous amount of noise in the media over the past few months caused by the ripple effect of its acquisition of EMC. Whether one thinks the merger is a good idea or not, it’s a fact that the merger will have a significant impact on the storage and server industries.

Today, Dell announced plans that will bolster its position in networking. 

The move to become a digital organization is a trend that’s now being felt across almost all companies in every vertical. The building blocks of digital are technologies such as cloud, mobile, big data and analytics. What do these have in common? They’re all network-centric, meaning the network plays a key role in the shift to a digital enterprise.

However, with networking, Dell chose to round out its solution with partnerships rather than by making a big acquisition or even a series of smaller purchases. Historically, Dell has relied heavily on partners to compete in networking, so this strategy isn’t a surprise.

Unified management of wired and wireless networks 

Mobility is obviously an important part of an organization’s digital strategy, meaning Wi-Fi becomes a strategic technology. However, Wi-Fi will never be the only network in a company, as the Wi-Fi needs to connect back to a wired network. The challenge for many organizations is that the wireless and wired networks need to be managed independently. To solve this problem, Dell has partnered with Aerohive to deliver a cloud-managed solution that offers unified management of Aerohive APs and Dell’s N-Series switches via HiveManager NG, Aerohive’s cloud management tool.

HiveManager NG offers a customizable user interface that provides granular views of all aspects of the Dell and Aerohive network devices, including application traffic, users, policy management and switch status. Dell has other Wi-Fi partners, but Aerohive is the only one that has been integrated at a management level and fulfills on the vision of Dell’s ONE Network solution.

Building solutions around OS10

In the data center, Dell has been one of the more aggressive vendors with respect to Open Networking and, like it’s doing in the access space, it is developing solutions based on best-of-breed partners rather than trying to be all things to all people. The company is pushing forward with its Operating System 10 (OS10) by building a number of integrated solutions around it. These include:

  • Dell OS10 and OCP SONiC. Dell, Microsoft Azure and other companies made contributions to found the Open Compute Projects (OCP) Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) initiative. The goal of the consortium is to open source all the components required to build fully functional network software. Dell’s OS10 base software was built to be a foundational component of SONiC.
  • Ansible Tower by Red Hat automates IT processes by adding security, control and delegation capabilities for a number of enterprise use cases, such as application deployment and multi-tier orchestration. OS10 has been integrated into Ansible Tower to enable customers to deploy Dell switches into an automated IT environment.
  • F5 combined with OS10 enables load balancing over “active-active” clusters across a wide range of network services for scale out deployments. OS10 integrated into F5’s market-leading application-delivery controllers creates tight integration between network and computing.
  • Silver Peak’s SD-WAN solution and OS10 have been integrated to offer greater optimization capabilities between the data center and branch offices across public and private cloud environments.

The networking industry is moving at a speed I haven’t seen since the 1990s when competition was at an all-time high. Every vendor is now trying to prove itself as an open vendor, but there is no bigger proof point to that than the number of ecosystem partners that can work with its solution. Dell’s “partner” approach should enable it to continue to move fast with new solutions why validating the vision it laid out for OS10.

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