Dell EMC: Open Networking's Next Evolution Is SD-WAN

Dell EMC is the latest networking vendor to point to SD-WAN as the future for the evolution of the open networking movement, which emphasizes disaggregated, modular, software-centric systems over closed, proprietary, hardware-based legacy implementations.

While that transformative networking revolution -- featuring acronym-laden offerings such as software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) -- has grown over the past five years or so, enterprise penetration has lagged, especially in non-datacenter scenarios.

Now, Dell EMC has identified SD-WAN as an important path forward for its open networking solutions, joining other major players who have come to the same conclusion, like Cisco Systems.

Cisco last month placed SD-WAN among "The 5 Technologies that will Change Networking in 2019." Cisco said: "SD-WAN has been a promised technology for years, but in 2019 it will be a major driver in how networks are built and re-built. In the coming year, SD-WAN network traffic will grow by 500 percent, and our research shows that more than half of business customers who don't currently use SD-WAN are going to make plans for its adoption."

Last week, Dell EMC marked the five-year anniversary of open networking, which it describes as "Giving customers unprecedented flexibility and choice, cost savings, ease of management, time to value, time to innovation and a network that creates measurable business value."

After noting the infusion of open networking into many of its products, Dell EMC pointed to its future direction.

"The next evolution takes the same premise of allowing software to play a greater role and applies it to other places in the network beyond the data center, such as SD-WAN," said Dell EMC networking exec Tom Burns in a Feb. 6 blog post.

"Enterprises have long faced the challenge of enabling their remote sites to connect with each other and communicate," Burns continued. "Traditionally, they accomplished this by using function-specific appliances, but today, innovative software like VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud is making it possible to address this challenge running on x86-based infrastructure, or as a virtual machine as part of a larger network function virtualization deployment."

Burns also discussed the upcoming rollouts of 5G wireless networking as part of the open networking revolution and joined Cisco in emphasizing the firm's commitment to open networking, especially in initiatives such as SD-WAN that expand past the datacenter.

"In the near future, we can expect the Open Networking model to expand beyond its roots in the datacenter to campus networks," Burns said. "Dell's hardware roadmap contemplates this shift, with major updates to our campus portfolio planned in 2019."

Such moves will be made to take advantage of the great opportunities still existing in the five-year-old open networking space. "As always, Dell EMC will continue to be a leader in pushing for and providing standards-based, open technology," Burns said. "The abundance of innovation and unquestionable success of Open Networking is a shining example of why we champion this approach."

In addition to Cisco and Dell EMC, other vendors have recently reiterated their commitments to the SD-WAN market, such as Oracle buying Talari Networks for its Failsafe technology that reportedly adds greater reliability and predictability to SD-WAN implementations, and Riverbed announcing a new SD-WAN solution that it says uses enhancements such as an improved core routing stack to tackle the growing complexity of modern networks. Furthermore, many vendors are forming various partnerships to position themselves in the growing market.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.


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