The Future of Open Networking

A few months ago, I wrote about four networking trends we’ll see play out in 2014. We were talking the other day about what that post could look like two years from now, especially as we build out our Open Networking initiative.

Just for fun, let’s pretend we fast forward to two years from now and it’s 2016. Mobile payment has replaced credit cards, Google Chauffeur now comes as an added option to most new vehicles and open networking is the standard for all networking technology.

We can still dream about the first two, but open networking is very real and quickly becoming the new standard in networking. We were the first major vendor to demonstrate our game-changing support for open networking. We became the first global end-to-end technology company to provide customers a choice of third-party operating systems, demonstrated by our partnership with Cumulus Networks and most recently with Big Switch Networks.

While we are the first to offer it, we still expect to see a lot of changes in the next couple of years within open networking. Diving into the future, 2016 will bring the following to light:

White box, black box, or brown box?

White box, or bare metal switching is still an option, but one hardly anyone chooses anymore. Buying separate hardware and installing your own operating system and software and servicing it is a thing of the past. Black box switching, where everything is supplied by a single provider, will still be the norm for the average consumer. But now there is a third alternative, a brown box that offers Ethernet switches with modern, fixed-form factor architectures with a complete data center solution and global services and support from start to finish.

Dell Networking now offers a brown box with software from Cumulus Networks, Big Switch Networks, and other partners.

Companies spend less on certifications

Cost has always been the number one factor in choosing networking technology for the enterprise. In the past, IT operators would spend thousands of dollars on training and certifications for Cisco. But networking technology is changing too quickly for these certifications to keep up. It’s no longer just about the hardware. Silos are converging and moving to a software dominated versus a hardware dominated operating model. IT operators who previously only worked with Cisco are now looking at alternatives such as Dell, who is making open networking easier and more efficient and cost effective to implement and operate.

Open Networking goes mainstream

The enterprise is now taking a broad adoption to open networking. It has been proven, hardened and scalable for IT customers to choose open networking over the original networking approach. Internet companies, universities, and financial organizations are all early adopters and Dell customers; with Clemson University being one of the very first. Now we are seeing SMBs take an interest to open networking and will be looking to us on how to adopt it.

Only time will tell if the above will come true or not, but we are doing everything we can to make open networking the most cost effective and easiest networking solution for our customers. We’d love to see you later this month at the Dell User Forum in Miami, where we will be sharing our latest networking solutions with customers and partners. If you can’t be with us at the event, follow  @DellNetworking and the #DUF14 hashtag on Twitter.

About the Author: Arpit Joshipura