& cplSiteName &

Dell Builds Its Service Provider NFV Case

Dan O'Shea

Dell continues to chip away at the data center market status quo, this week having announced a new dynamically scalable data center switch and a fabric controller that uses SDN principles to enable NFV support for service providers and other data center operators.

The Dell Networking Z9500 switch and Active Fabric Controller also play as further evidence of efforts Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) has been making in recent months to grab a larger chunk of the data center market and extend itself into the service provider sector by embracing open networking and a practical approach to supporting NFV. (See Dell Unveils Data Center Switch, Active Fabric Controller, Dell Has Big NFV Plans, and Dell Opens Arms to Cumulus OS.)

The Z9500 is significant in that it employs a pay-as-you-grow model, allowing customers to activate more ports as their data center needs increase, rather than having to buy more backplanes and line cards. "You can initiate 36 ports, 86 ports or 132 ports, so that gives you the flexibility of building out small, medium or large data center designs. You can build to micro scale, macro scale and hyper scale," says Arpit Joshipura, vice president of product management at Dell.

That flexibility, along with a total 10Tbit/s capacity across the switch, low-latency performance and low power consumption, make the switch ideal for burgeoning SDN and NFV environments, Joshipura argues.

Meanwhile, the new Active Fabric Controller supports OpenStack for the integration of physical data center infrastructure, and uses OpenFlow to interface with data center switches. "Today cloud operators are looking at three stacks -- the VMware stack, the Microsoft stack and OpenStack," Joshipura says. "While OpenStack has plug-ins, the infrastructure still has to be stitched together." The new Dell controller allows the entire data center infrastructure to be managed and orchestrated, with policy control and visibility, on a "zero touch" basis, he adds.

The ability to dynamically stitch together physical data center infrastructure also further positions Dell to support NFV use cases in which dynamic scalability is needed to meet multi-tenancy requirements. "The Active Fabric Controller automates OpenStack on the enterprise side and on the carrier NFV side," Joshipura says. "We think the same building blocks can be used on both sides. You see a lot of write-ups these days suggesting that if it's enterprise, then its SDN, if it's carrier, then it's NFV. The enterprise just happens to be mature enough from an SDN perspective that we can extend it and expand what we're doing there to support NFV."

These notions are not lost on the service provider market, according to Heavy Reading senior analyst Caroline Chappell. "Our research shows that advanced operators realize that the development and implementation of SDN and NFV have to progress hand in hand," she says. "SDN is about setting up and tearing down flows through the network. Those flows are going to involve network functions and at the same time need to support virtual network functions (VNFs), providing connectivity between the virtual machines that constitute the VNFs."

Chappell says that in general the integration of SDN and NFV is going to be a hot topic in coming months and that the roles of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV ISG and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) look set to become more closely aligned. (Update: This article initially noted that a proposal to merge the ETSI NFV ISG and the ONF had been made, but suggestions of any such merger have not been made by either the ETSI group or the ONF, and are not being considered by either. The two organizations, though, have forged a partnership -- see ETSI & ONF Hold Hands Over SDN & NFV.)

However, Chappell's fellow Heavy Reading senior analyst Roz Roseboro notes that while SDN and NFV may take an integrated path forward, "neither is dependent on the other being in place."

Rest assured, Dell isn't the only vendor that sees this happening. Having infrastructure components that support NFV may better position Dell to win service provider business, but it won't come easy. Roseboro says, "I listened to a presentation from Telefónica, where it talked about hardware and software requirements for NFV. One of the issues raised was that the data plane workload needs high and predictable performance -- something that isn't as critical when dealing with server workloads. This impacts how things need to be architected when virtualizing the networking domain. My feeling is that the traditional WAN suppliers may be more credible than the enterprise guys in terms of understanding some of these sorts of nuances." (See Telefónica Looks to SDN for Network Flexibility, Telefónica Unveils Aggressive NFV Plans.)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Lightning
3/27/2014 | 8:27:18 PM
There are no plans to fold the ETSI NFV ISG into the ONF or any other body. Discussions are being progressed within the NFV ISG on what comes after the initial two-year phase which ends in January-February 2015. The NFV ISG leadership recommends an extrapolation of the NFV ISG the outline of which was introduced to the NFV ISG plenary meeting in Malaga last month. This basic proposal has a broad base of support amongst network operators and the NFV ISG will be asked to decide how to move forward at the next meeting in Okinawa in mid-May. Don Clarke, Chair, Network Operator Council (ETSI NFV ISG).
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
Trump: Dump AT&T/TW & Comcast/NBC
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/24/2016
T-Mobile: AT&T & TW Means Ma Bell Not Focused on Mobile
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/24/2016
Layer3 TV Comes to Town, Hints at Future
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/21/2016
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
'Oh, Were You Looking for This?' Click Here
'I was just playing some games...'
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.