You’ve probably witnessed us discussing and demonstrating the importance of liberating networking hardware from a proprietary OS – not to mention the enormous CAPEX and OPEX benefits behind empowering users with choice. If, for whatever reason, you’re not convinced, consider this: Dell has just announced that two of its networking hardware platforms are going to support third party OSes, with Cumulus Linux being the first to get on board. This move by an IT industry stalwart is a game changer and speaks to the value of bare metal networking to move the market forward and give customers choice. Now, customers can finally optimize their networks and scale based on the OS they choose while leveraging the power of Linux. It fundamentally boils down to this:

Democratization = dis-aggregation. How? Bare-metal.

Imagine consolidating the pace of innovation from three-to-four year cycles – typically associated with the ASIC – to a few months of engineering cycles. This is ultimately what abstracting the hardware layer, and the software that runs on it, will mean for your operation. Software innovation will be at software par.

We are proud to welcome one of enterprise IT’s most predominant organizations to our community of partners who are all dedicated to offering the networking industry the freedom and ability to scale to eliminate the barriers of vendor-lock in. Thanks to Dell and its massive distribution channels across the globe, access to high-capacity, affordable networking (aka: bare metal networking) is closer to home and accessible to anyone who wants it. It is no longer exclusive to a select few businesses that own megascale datacenters. You may recall our recent blog post, “The Mythical Whitebox Is No Longer a Myth” …suffice to say that the rubber has met the road. This spring, Dell will spread the wealth of Cumulus Linux to new users on top of its own platform, allowing them to select best-of-breed software based on the needs of their business operations rather than a cookie cutter, pre-defined hardware/software stack with only one OS.

Why? Dell has recognized that empowering the user is a superior and realistic business model when it comes to networking. It’s the way the industry is headed – so rather than skating to the puck, Dell is moving towards where it’s going to be. Akin to the proven, mature model on the compute side and x86, which has demonstrated the value of a completely liberated ecosystem with a plethora of hardware and software choices for customers, Dell+ Cumulus Linux replicates a proven, tried and true hardware + software value chain. Furthering the effort toward democratizing the network, Dell’s hardware will be equipped with ONIE to enable a bare metal network switch ecosystem where end users have a choice among different network operating systems.

Mass availability and access to best-of-breed software and a value chain of features on top of a bare metal switch, as opposed to a proprietary stack pre-integrated custom ASIC solution (which you are stuck with) is NOT about changing the game. It’s what you need to do to STAY in the game. It’s time to scale up, bring the network out of the dark ages, and welcome the unbundled OS.

Still into Black Box Networking? Two words: Game. Over.

See below for more details on our exciting new partnership with Dell:



Visit us at The OCP Summit: Booth C28
January 28, 2014 – January 29, 2014 – San Jose Convention Center, CA