UPDATED 16:33 EDT / JUNE 12 2012

Dell Networking on Strategy, Cloud and Opportunity

Dario Zamarian, General Manager of Dell Networking platforms, dropped by theCube during the Dell Storage Forum to talk about the company’s networking initiatives and how they fit in with evolving technology environments.  View the video below or click here. 

Zamarian feels that networking at Dell is a unique opportunity.   In this evolving market, a few things have brought about the very natural component of networking for Dell.  The requirements brought on by the demands of high end storage, more resiliency, and better performance networks has led to this demand for a new fabric.  With a distributed core Dell Networking works towards delivering an economical way to deploy the right amount of power, density and a very different cost acquisition profile.  With a wealth of offerings designed for these demands, Dell is aiming towards the connection of endpoint and end user through wireless, wired, aggregation layer, all the way back to the data center.

Partnerships are a key strategy in Dell’s vision for networking.  Through belief in standards and goals, such as Ethernet, lossless networking, high performance, and high bandwidth products, this strategy forms a component of their approach.  Concerns about lock-in or proprietary issues that customers may bring up are alleviated by these key aims.  Zamarian states that the magic is in the software, not the hardware, and Dell’s approach embraces this as they continue to partner, innovate, acquire as demonstrated by partnerships with Brocade and Aruba for example.

Dell has invested in a Silicon Valley presence, with a local development center opened a year ago along Hwy 237, referred to as Networking Alley.   Staffed by up to 700 employees, it represents a portion of a larger Silicon Valley presence that is trending up to 2000 total.  The wealth of talent and its presence amongst the center of innovation were benefits that illustrate their commitment to their goals.   Part of this growth has been through acquisition, for example, Scalent, Sonicwall, among others.

Dell sees the trend of Big Data as an opportunity to revalue the underlying infrastructure.  The nature of Big Data demands a high performance level that has impact on computing, flexibility, storage, and networking.  To be specific, among the requirements on infrastructure, a high demand on ‘east-west’ networking, that is data movement within the network.  Making this happen requires the right properties on the network and this is one of Dell’s customer use cases that is often brought up.  In focus, that is the task of ensuring that storage, network and intelligent infrastructure flawlessly deliver the resulting fabric that is tasked to serve data and applications at the top.

Dell is also trying to ensure that the network should not be a hindrance and their focus is built with the virtualization administrator in mind.   Zamarian also discussed SDN and some of the OpenFlow initiatives.  He cautions that this takes some real analysis and manages to make a statement on myth.  In essence, Dell is proselytizing the approach of multiple layers in a combination of switch layer, controller, and management that build a programmable network and a network that is defined by software.

Zamarian wraps things up on theCube by discussing venture capital work that Dell is involved in.  Clearly there are elements to the Dell Networking portfolio that need completion.  Dell is involved in organic relations with venture capital, but is also working on the next generation of technology by utilizing their own venture network.  Seeding that next wave of technologies through these systems lend a forward-looking approach to what is next in store for Dell.

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