DÜSSELDORF -- SDN & OpenFlow World Congress -- Dell is packaging enterprise SDN software with its server hardware to break into the carrier market for network functions virtualization (NFV).
Many startups and legacy vendors have specialized NFV products, but they aren't integrated, said Arpit Joshipura, VP product management and marketing, Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) Networking. "They look like a bunch of Lego boxes," he said. "Carriers are in a dilemma. They want to know how they can put it all together."
The new Dell NFV platform is designed to solve the problem of specialized products by providing a framework on top of which virtualized network functions (VNFs) can run, says Jeff Baher, senior director, product marketing for Dell. The platform is comprised of Dell's Active Fabric Manager software, combining both an SDN controller and Orchestrator, running on Intel Xeon servers. The platform connects with OpenStack.
The Dell NFV platform uses PowerEdge servers and software from Dell and partners to run VNFs, as well as software from partners, with interfaces for management and orchestration (MANO). The platform has options for Network Equipment-Building Systems (NEBS) plaforms, Fresh-Air systems and modular and containerized solutions.
The platform is "scalable in any direction... up, down, or out," says Dell. It scales from small, unstaffed points of presence and central office environments, to hyperscale data centers.
On the low end of scalability, Dell is shipping starter kits for its NFV platform for early-adopter proofs of concept and trials.
The platform and starter kits will be available this year.
A partner ecosystem framework provides infrastructure, management, orchestration and service. Among the partners is Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), which will collaborate with Dell on OpenStack-based NFV and SDN solutions specifically for telecom.
Dell is a founding member of the recently announced OPNFV, a group of carriers and vendors developing an open source reference platform for NFV. (See Open NFV Group Uncloaks Its Platform Plan.)
And as part of its open networking initiative, Dell upgraded its OpenDaylight membership to Platinum, the highest level, Dell said this week.