• New solution platform and starter kits, powered by Dell’s new Intel® Xeon™-powered 13th generation PowerEdge servers, Dell Open Networking, and Dell Software enable Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) for deployments virtually anywhere at any scale
  • Open partner ecosystem framework – including extending Dell’s relationship with Red Hat - provides complete infrastructure, management, orchestration, and service solutions to help maximize customer choice while accelerating development and deployments
  • Commitment to open source and open standards provides integrators, network equipment providers and carriers with maximum flexibility, control and investment protection

Dell today introduced its NFV solution offerings and companion starter kits, comprising Dell systems and software combined with software from open ecosystem partners and open source distributions to help jumpstart carrier trials and adoption.

Dell’s NFV solutions can help telecommunications service providers improve cost structures of existing service delivery and simply and quickly enable new service innovation and creation. This is achieved by virtualizing the telecommunications and mobile service infrastructure using industry-standard compute and open networking platforms, combined with commercially available software packages at the infrastructure, management, orchestration and service layers. 

Dell NFV Platform: Driving Choice and Flexibility

The Dell NFV platform uses the latest server, storage, networking and software technologies from Dell combined with software from open ecosystem partners to form fully-converged, virtualized infrastructure that can execute virtual network functions (VNFs). The platform also includes foundational software and open interfaces for Management and Orchestration (MANO) for simple operation and ease of integration. From a deployment perspective, the Dell NFV platform can be dimensioned and equipped for application virtually anywhere, at any scale, in a carrier environment.

Dell’s NFV platform delivers distinct advantages to end-customers, OEM partners, and systems integrators.

  • 100 Percent Open and Standard: The Dell NFV platform is built on Dell PowerEdge servers with the latest Intel® Xeon™ E5-2600v3 processors combined with the innovative open networking platforms and a rich set of open interfaces ensuring maximum interoperability, manageability, and investment protection. As NFV solutions are increasingly deployed on industry-standard, high-volume servers, the Dell NFV platform is well-positioned as a vehicle to implement proofs-of-concept that benefit from Intel’s ongoing investment in innovations in advanced server technology for networking infrastructure. 
  • Scalable in Any Direction: The Dell NFV platform can scale easily—up, down, or out—to accommodate a wide range of design goals, service capabilities and environmental conditions from small, unstaffed points-of-presences, to central office environments, and to hyperscale data centers. This includes options for Network Equipment-Building System (NEBS) platforms, Fresh-Air systems and modular/containerized solutions.
  • Driving Open Source Innovation: The Dell NFV platform aims to provide a choice of software stack to complement Dell’s infrastructure and management software. This announcement extends Dell’s collaboration with Red Hat to co-engineer OpenStack-based NFV and SDN solutions specifically for the telecommunications industry.  
  • Open Partner Ecosystem: Dell is investing heavily to foster an open partner ecosystem and welcomes participation and engagement without exclusivity across all functional areas. This includes partnerships to:
    • Form the Dell NFV platform itself;
    • Enable complete MANO capabilities;
    • Support other Linux and OpenStack distributions to tailor the Dell NFV platform for VNF deployments including the Ubuntu operating system, Ubuntu OpenStack, Wind River; and,
    • Provide support for a wide range of VNFs.

Commitment to Open Source and Open Standards: Eliminating the Lock-In

Open source technologies, combined with open standards, are central to the Dell NFV platform architecture. The goal is simple—to make the Dell NFV platform the most flexible and most accessible innovation engine, optimized for broad industry engagement and development. Through collaborations with industry leaders - such as Intel’s Open Network Platform reference architecture and open source and open standard initiatives - developers and end-customers can gain direct access to the technology underpinnings that allow for rapid innovation and customization.

Dell’s open source and open standard efforts and contributions related to NFV include:

  • Industry-standard Intel® Xeon™ processor-based server platforms, with contributions to the Open Compute Project (OCP);
  • Industry-standard storage platforms and protocols including support for open source Ceph and Swift implementations;
  • Dell upgraded its OpenDaylight membership to the highest level, Platinum;
  • Collaboration with Red Hat on open source projects to help enable seamless hardware and software installation and configuration including Dell Cloud Manager and Red Hat CloudForms for infrastructure orchestration;
  • Dell and Red Hat will make NFV test equipment available in their respective customer labs to demonstrate their joint offering;
  • Platform support for MAAS (metal-as-a-service) open source software and ManageIQ, JUJU open source orchestration as an optional foundational element;
  • Open, standards-based networking equipment supporting Open Networking, industry-standard management interfaces (REST, SNMP), yang models, the OpenDaylight open source SDN controller; and,
  • Platinum-level, founding member of the Linux Foundation’s Open Platform NFV Project (OPNFV) enabling open source reference implementations.

Collectively, these initiatives and contributions empower end-customers, developers and integrators with the greatest degree of flexibility, agility and control in their NFV deployments.

Dell NFV Platform Starter Kits for Early Adopters

While production-level Dell NFV platform deployments will ultimately take many forms, Dell is making available starter kit solutions for early adopter proof-of-concepts (PoCs) and trials. The starter kits are smaller footprint Dell NFV platform implementations designed to jumpstart development and PoC efforts. Two different starter kit configurations are available now; one based around the new PowerEdge R630 1RU compute nodes the other based around the Dell M1000e blade chassis and the new M630 compute blades.

Both kits also include:

  • Dell Networking S6000 10/40GbE Open Networking platform for feature-rich layer 2 and layer 3 networking, as well as OpenFlow;
  • Dell OpenDaylight-compliant Active Fabric Manager and Dell Active Fabric Controller;
  • Dell Foglight and Dell OpenManage Network Manager;
  • Choice of Linux and OpenStack distributions; and,
  • Options for data plane acceleration and/or service chaining.

The starter kits include equipment bill-of-materials, tested reference designs and configurations, and product support - providing end-customers, developers and partners a cost-effective, highly-extensible environment to evaluate NFV-based service delivery.

Supporting Quotes

  • “NFV marks a momentous technology shift – and opportunity – for telecommunications providers. In the past, they had to rely on both highly-proprietary and complex arrangements of dedicated appliances for service delivery. Now, in an increasingly disaggregated world, the technology options can be overwhelming. Dell wants to simplify this and cut through the clutter,” said Marius Haas, Chief Commercial Officer and President, Dell Enterprise Solutions. “Our goal is to deliver the most open, flexible and practical NFV platform by combining our technology with a strong partner ecosystem to help service providers streamline service creation and delivery.”
  • “NFV has the full attention of the telecom industry. Although others don’t offer such openness, Dell’s open approach matches what the service providers want. Dell certainly has the key infrastructure technology layer – the compute, storage, and networking – as well as a broad reach across the industry for potential VNF software providers. I think a lot of operators will be interested in their handy packaging and simplification of the process via starter kits, and this will help speed adoption,” said Michael Howard, Co-founder and Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research.  
  • “The Dell NFV platform will be one of the first commercial implementations of the Intel® Open Network Platform for Servers, a reference architecture based on open industry standards and open source software which enables OEMs, TEMs, ODMs and ISVs to accelerate the deployment of SDN and NFV solutions,” said John Healy, General Manager of Intel’s Software Defined Networking Division. “The Dell NFV platform will enable service providers to deliver compelling NFV solutions based on the latest Intel Xeon processors that will drive greater performance and functionality of today’s networks.”
  •  “We’ve long recognized the transformative potential NFV and SDN have for carriers as they modernize to meet customer demands and bring products to market faster,” said Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager, Virtualization and OpenStack, Red Hat. “Red Hat and Dell are closely collaborating in many areas related to NFV, SDN, and OpenStack. With the Dell NFV platform, we’re happy to extend our commitment to jointly engineering OpenStack-based NFV and SDN solutions built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform to help carriers take advantage of these technologies.”


The Dell NFV platform and associated starter kits will be globally available via Dell.com or through local partners in the fourth quarter of this year.

Additional Information:

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