Dell and Cumulus Networks have initiated a Software Defined Network startup called Midokura into their open and disaggregated data center network alliance. Midokura has an overlay network virtualization solution for OpenStack that will now be available together with Dell’s commodity hardware and the Linux-based network operating system by Cumulus.
There is a growing number of data center operators, such as telcos, cloud service providers, and to a lesser extent enterprises, who are interested in low-cost commodity network hardware that is not tied to proprietary software – the opposite of the full-solution model major network vendors have traditionally sold. There is also growing interest in being able to virtualize and automate network management capabilities, such as the ones Midokura’s OpenStack SDN technology provides, to make networks more agile.
Dell’s first foray into the world of disaggregation between network hardware and software occurred in January, when it announced it would offer the Cumulus OS as an alternative to its own Dell OS software on two of its top-of-rack data center switches. In April, Dell added a third network OS option –the Switch Light Operating System by Big Switch Networks.
Earlier this month Juniper, previously one of the monolithic proprietary network vendors, took things a step further in the direction of open networking, announcing it would not only ship a commodity white box switch that would be open for use with any OS the customer desires, but also that it would contribute the box’s design to the Open Compute Project, the Facebook-led open source data center and hardware design initiative.
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