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Dell Gives Campus Switches an SDN Refresh

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Dell Gives Campus Switches an SDN Refresh

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Dell Powerconnect Software-Defined Networking OpenFlow

Dell is revamping its campus access switches, phasing out the 10-year-old PowerConnect line in favor of the N series, which comes with a new operating system.

It’s among a crowd of announcements likely to come out from Dell World, which is being held this week in Austin, Texas. But not many of them have direct relevance to software-defined networking (SDN).

The N series’ OS is Linux-based and is infused with features out of Force10, the data-center switch vendor Dell acquired in 2011. The N-series switches also support OpenFlow, for customers implementing in campus-level SDN.

Dell’s N series is intended only for the campus’ access tier, with port speeds up to 10-Gb/s. When it comes to aggregation and core routers, and 40-Gb/s links, Dell will steer customers toward the Force10 portfolio (now called the C series).

The N series prepares Dell for SDN-laden campus networks, assuming such a market ever takes off. Campus SDN remains mostly a university creature, says Arpit Joshipura, Dell vice president of marketing. Other enterprises that want campus SDN tend to use it for traffic slicing — keeping one department’s traffic isolated from other departments’, he says.

Specifications on the new N2000, N3000, and N4000 lines were not available at press time.

Also for the campus, Dell is announcing updating its wireless LAN gear to 802.11ac and introducing new versions of the C-series chassis switches: the C7004 and C7008. The latter supports 48 40-Gb/s ports or 192 10-Gb/s ports.


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