Connecting from Edge to Cloud, with Dell Enterprise SONiC

Empowering customers with performance, simplified design and the flexibility of a unified NOS without vendor lock-in.

SONiC, Software for Open Networking in the Cloud, an open-source network operating system, has revolutionized the networking ecosystem. An increasing number of users, a vibrant open-source community and a growing ecosystem of vendors have nurtured its growth.

Enterprises are emulating the best practices of cloud service providers and rapidly adopting this technology to create a modern data center fabric that supports their current and emerging technology and business use cases. Industry analysts predict SONiC data center switching to exceed $5 billion in revenue in 2026. With its move to the Linux Foundation, SONiC is seeing more widespread adoption and integration with other open-source tools, enabling ease of network management and monitoring. 

Dell Technologies offers a finely tuned, enterprise-ready and globally supported distribution of SONiC called Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies to help bring the benefits of hyper-scale-focused SONiC contributions to the rest of the enterprise and telecommunications markets and use cases. Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies is the first commercial version of SONiC to provide enterprise-ready features, a dedicated roadmap and global support for large-scale environments.

We’ve added additional feature capabilities and hardened it with extensive real-world testing and validation. Enterprise SONiC builds on Dell Technologies long history of collaborating with and contributing to the open-source SONiC community with new features and capabilities ranging across the protocol stack and management applications, including a centralized management platform and a growing ecosystem of partner automation and orchestration applications. 

Since our announcement and launch of the Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies in June 2021, we’ve continued to evolve SONiC with new use case enablement, feature additions and enterprise hardening, creating a more open and flexible infrastructure for our customers and partners.

Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies 4.1

Today, we’re introducing Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies 4.1, which enables a unified network operating system (NOS) across cloud, core and edge use cases and is supported across multi-vendor platforms. Here are some key highlights of this product release. 

    • Build high-performance fabrics with optimal choice and flexibility and no vendor lock-in. We’ve continued the expansion of our Enterprise SONiC offering and supported portfolio to bring improved performance with better scale and more choice in hardware switching options. Additionally, this release brings support for qualified non-Dell platforms supported with Dell Enterprise SONiC. We believe open-source is the future of networking, and we want to ensure organizations can benefit from the flexibility and scalability of SONiC, regardless of the platform they choose. With our Enterprise SONiC offering, customers will get a “true” multi-vendor NOS offering, providing more freedom of choice and flexibility for their infrastructure development.
    • Gain ease of management and greater insights with expanded partner solutions and more customizable options for edge deployments. We’ve launched a new portfolio of edge switching platforms, the Dell PowerSwitch E-Series, that provide a more robust and scalable hardware platform to support Enterprise SONiC for the edge, including features like streaming telemetry and user container support for greater visibility and programmability. This provides a unified fabric through a single NOS, from core to edge, allowing customers to streamline network deployment, operations and monitoring, all while using the same familiar network management tools they’ve grown accustomed to in their data centers. We’ve also expanded our partner ecosystem to provide better performance, simplified network lifecycle management and network design. These partner solutions simplify infrastructure orchestration across compute, storage and networking and provide an end-to-end view ranging from multisite data centers to remote branch edge use case all in a single dashboard GUI instance. 
    • Build a more feature-rich enterprise-level fabric with enhanced data center capabilities. We’ve added new data center capabilities focusing on telecom carrier and large enterprise use cases. Enterprise SONiC now includes support for QinQ and VLAN translation. These features are particularly important for environments where there is a need for complex multi-tenant and large-scale network fabrics. With the addition of these new features, organizations can expand their VLANs and achieve a higher level of network segmentation and isolation, while also simplifying their network management. This is a significant benefit for organizations that are looking to improve their network efficiency, scalability and security.

Moreover, the addition of RoCEv2 (RDMA over Converged Ethernet) addresses storage use cases, where there is a need for lossless, low-latency, high-bandwidth transmission requirements. With the addition of this functionality, organizations can achieve a high level of performance and reliability for their storage applications, which are growing in use cases across financial trading, scientific research, AI/ML and big data analytics. 

Taking SONiC Mainstream

At Dell Technologies, we’re thrilled to witness this revolution in the networking industry and excited to contribute, collaborate and partner in taking SONiC and the benefits of open-source networking mainstream to broader industry verticals and use cases. This helps us to continue delivering on our promise of open-source, freedom of choice and flexibility to help accelerate innovation and digital transformation for our customers and partners.

Saurabh Kapoor

About the Author: Saurabh Kapoor

Saurabh Kapoor leads Product Management and Strategy for Dell Networking Solutions, where he plays a pivotal role in shaping the product portfolio and strategic direction for the business unit. He leads product management for Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies, and engagements with open-source communities, ecosystem technology partners, silicon vendors and ODM partners. Saurabh represents Dell Technologies on the Linux Foundation SONiC Governing Board and has been instrumental in driving SONiC adoption and awareness across the industry. Saurabh joined Dell Technologies in 2019 to drive Business Development and Product Strategy for Open Networking Solutions and has been instrumental in developing and expanding Dell's Enterprise SONiC product offerings. With over a decade of experience in Product Management, Solution Engineering and Business Development with notable technology companies like Capgemini and Emerson Electric, Saurabh brings a wealth of expertise to his current role. He holds an MBA from George Washington University School of Business and a Master's in Technology from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India.