What Dell’s Doing Right with Software-Defined Networking

Dell’s Armughan Ahmad hopped into theCube last week to discuss the latest on his company’s networking strategy with Wikibon’s top analysts Dave Vellante and Stu Miniman (full video below).

Vellante kicks off the interview with a couple of observations about Dell, and how it is attempting to leverage its scale – a great deal of which is accounted by its massive client PC – to gain momentum in enterprise markets.

Ahmad chips in with the networking angle, adding that non-organic growth is also contributing significantly to the company’s performance. He brings up Force10, noting that the networking equipment maker has seen nothing but continuous growth since it was acquired by Dell in 2011.

Ahmad then elaborates on how his firm is differentiating itself within the over-crowded networking industry. Dell is taking a software-driven approach, he says, but without becoming a ‘me-too vendor’: the vendor is using a distributed core architecture in conjunction with solutions from EqualLogic and Force10 to deliver an easily managed, agile solution. The latter two advantages can be realized thanks to admin software that ships with the bundle.

The executive says that this combination of dense silicon and consolidated management attracted several large customers, including public sector organizations and healthcare providers. Ahmad stresses that automation can go a very long way for these kinds of customers.

He later tackles software-defined networking more directly, highlighting that there are two ways to go about it: a controller-based approach, and a hypervior based one (which VMware is demonstrating with Nicira). Dell is pursing both in the R&D labs as well as the channel, where it’s strengthening its ties with hypervisors vendors.

Lastly, Ahmad brings up big data. He says that it breaks down to two components: analytics, and real-time accessibly and management from a storage standpoint. Dell is trying to address both.