How to Transform Operations with Open Networking – Customer Viewpoints

Feels like a blink of the eye, but Open Networking is now over 4 years in the making. And by the looks of things the proverbial genie is out of the bottle and there’s no turning back. The proposition back then, remains the same today, disaggregate the traditional networking stack and innovation will follow, for the industry and for the customer.

Just like how when the compute industry transitioned from mainframe to client-server technologies we witnessed a massive wave of innovation combined with an inherent democratization of the technologies, a similar effect is now taking hold in the networking industry. This means a whole lot of ‘new’ – new technologies, new architectures, new economics, new ways of operating networks.

Organizations deploying and managing real networks are grappling with real and practical issues. Across the board, big and small, network operation teams are faced with a number of critical requirements as demands on the network and overall complexity increases. In spite of differing industries and businesses, the challenges these companies face and the problems they are trying to solve through Open Networking are consistently similar, as evidenced through a recent IDC study.  They include:

  • Increasing network agility to support virtualized applications
  • Making the network more automated and programmable
  • Improving security
  • Providing greater operational efficiencies

From the interviews IDC conducted with Dell customers, it is evident that Open Networking is having a dramatic effect, in terms of addressing the requirements outlined above—and ultimately transforming operations. For example, according to Alex Kurgan, a senior network engineer at AFEX, a private company that provides global payment and risk management solutions, they chose to deploy Dell Open Networking with Big Switch Networks:

“The resulting operational agility and operational efficiencies have been considerable, abetted further by visibility into the VMware vCenter orchestrator and related infrastructure like vSAN and NSX. The provisioning of the systems is now much easier and a lot faster, and it requires a lot less involvement for me and troubleshooting has become easier.”

And Andrew Martin, network engineer at LogicMonitor, who is using Dell Open Networking paired with Cumulus Linux is experiencing significant operational efficiency improvements, through automated and self-service networking.  Andrew states:

“In the past the network team was segregated from the rest of the operations team. Not everyone knew the ins and outs of the various vendor-specific interfaces. This made it difficult and a little bit stressful for the networking team. Now our deployment model is to use Ansible. Everyone on our operations team has access to the Ansible playbook, and anyone can do it. They can deploy the full configuration from nothing to everything in just a few clicks, which is awesome.”

These customers’ perspectives are a tribute to Dell’s vision of an open, democratized Networking industry. Today, we offer a complete line-up of Open Networking products spanning data center top-of-rack, fabric, and interconnect; campus/branch; and enterprise access/edge environments all with mix-and-match software capabilities from Dell and Open Networking ecosystem partners. And earlier this year at the Open Networking Summit, we advanced the conversation once again moving the focus of Open Networking toward software disaggregation. And at Dell Technologies World we unveiled our new Virtual Edge Platform (VEP4600) bringing Open Networking to universal CPE (uCPE)/virtual branch environments with our partners Silver Peak, VeloCloud (VMware), and Versa Networks.

To hear more from customers like Andrew and Alex, I would encourage you to:

  1. Download the report, learn more about these customers, their challenges, and the problems they were able to solve.
  2. Determine for yourself what would make sense for your network and your organization.
  3. Schedule time to meet with us to explore and test-drive options.

Let’s transform together. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

About the Author: Jeff Baher

Jeff is responsible for solutions marketing for Dell’s Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) portfolios reporting into the Enterprise Solutions Group. Jeff has over 20 years of marketing experience in Enterprise IT and Service Provider industries holding positions for Fortune 500, mid-size and startup companies. Prior experience includes Ericsson, Juniper and 10 years at Cisco Systems. Jeff received his bachelor’s degree cum laude from Harvard University and is a frequent spokesperson with press and analyst communities. Areas of expertise: • Data center technologies • Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) • Software-Defined Networking (SDN