“A computer network is a communications network that allows computers to exchange data,” says Wikipedia. It goes on to say, “The physical connection between networked computing devices is established using either cable media or wireless media. The best-known computer network is the internet.”
Before the internet existed, there was no true standard for connecting computers together. As such, the creation of the Internet Protocol suite by an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense marked an important turning point for computer networking.
Today we are in the so-called cloud era or virtual era, as the computing landscape evolved from mainframe/terminal to client/server to the state that it is in now. The cloud era brings us many new challenges, as more and more devices need to be connected. The vast amount of data that is constantly generated by these mobile devices, appliances and other equipment is finding its way through the networks. At the same time, large numbers of (virtual) workloads are deployed to support the current internet of things. Never before has connectivity been more important. From the travelling business specialist to the home tablet gamer or the on-site connected engineer to the student on holiday, we all take being connected for granted—and we rely heavily on the necessary technology being there to support us and our businesses.
Networks also have to deal with complexities such as the convergence of disparate protocols and data streams as well as their respective priorities within the network, handling security within the network and today’s hot topic in the OEM telecommunication vertical, software-defined networking. Not only that, but once all of the questions and challenges have been answered, the networks will still need to be manageable.
Over the last two years, Dell has increased its focus on the networking portfolio. As a result, we have moved from the number 12 spot in Ethernet networking market share in 2011 to the number 3 spot in 2013 (Source: Dell’oro, Q1 2013 revenue market share). With a top spot in 40GbE technologies, Dell is planning to introduce some exciting new additions to the networking portfolio later this year, as legacy and new technology continue to integrate.
The complete portfolio of Dell networking solutions is based on open standards with the Virtual Network Architecture (VNA), an open networking framework for efficient IT and workload intelligence. For data centres, this means powerful capabilities to virtualise infrastructure and services for any size cloud deployment—whether private, hybrid or public. For the campus and branch, this means simple yet sophisticated mechanisms to mobilise end users and virtualise desktops.
Dell data centre products are comprised of core, top-of-rack and blade networking products, including the product family added through the Force10™ acquisition, as well as the celebrated distributed core fabric technology. Dell campus products are comprised of access, aggregation and core switches, including the legacy Dell PowerConnect™ family and wireless products. As networking is an integral part of the virtual era ecosystem, the networking ecosystem expands into Dell enterprise solutions with partners like F5 and Big Switch Networks; standards like those of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE); and initiatives like the Open Networking Foundation and the OpenDaylight project to support software-defined networking.
Examples of enterprise solutions relying on Dell networking are Dell converged infrastructure solutions and, an important focus of the Dell OEM healthcare vertical, Dell storage solutions. By offering the possibility of integrating networking expertise, products and management into these enterprise solutions, Dell customers have the opportunity to enjoy best-in-class deployments. A powerful example is the just-released Dell PowerEdge™ VRTX, which shrunk converged infrastructure into a powerful, single rack-mountable unit and made the technology accessible for any size company, including OEM (original equipment manufacturer) customers.
Security products such as Dell SonicWALL™ next-generation firewall appliances, Quest™ Identity Management and Dell AppAssure™ data protection, and services such as Dell SecureWorks Managed Security Services complement the end-to-end solution offering for the network-enabled enterprise.
The approach Dell has taken towards networking has allowed for significant growth of presence and market share in networking. The list of Dell networking customers stretches across multiple markets while Dell continues to innovate and drive open standards as the market evolves.
What does this mean for OEM customers? First and foremost, Dell OEM Solutions has the ability to offer all components in the networking portfolio, from standard switches to wireless access points. It can also help OEM customers take a higher-level approach to designing products, services and solutions, by lifting the conversation to the “connecting layer.” This enables the discussion of connectivity, mobility and cloud or converged infrastructure where networking plays an important role. Examples of this are connected vehicles, electronic flight bags, mobile clinical computing, electronic medicine distribution and next-generation industrial automation.
How can these technologies be part of your OEM solutions and, more importantly, part of a business strategy where connectivity plays a key and central role? A face-to-face conversation with a Dell OEM Solutions specialist can help you find out.