Dell has extended its reach in ‘open networking’ and software-defined data center infrastructure with the announcement of Operating System 10 (OS10) from Dell Networking. Dell OS10 would establish a new benchmark for open software modularity and design for large-scale data centers and cloud operators.
“Modern, software-defined data centers require a fresh approach to operations – not just for the network, but across compute and storage elements as well,” said Tom Burns, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking and Enterprise Infrastructure. “OS10 gives customers a future-ready springboard to innovate their networks and data center infrastructure more quickly and consistently, affording customers greater efficiency and capability at scale.”
The OS10 platform is designed around new benchmarks for open software modularity so users can create the most efficient and flexible paths across networked systems. OS10 is comprised of a base module and various optional application modules. Now, what had formerly been bundled into tightly-integrated, vendor-specific stacks, has been separated to enhance customer choice, control and programmability.
Disaggregating the Network OS Stack
- OS10 Base Module – The OS10 Base Module is available for free and runs a fully-open, unmodified Linux distribution. Linux is one of the most widely-used operating systems and can provide a common language across multiple IT layers including networking, storage and compute. The OS10 Base Module can leverage the Linux community-based benefits which can help enhance its programmability, portability, and flexibility for the application layer above it.
Below it, the OS10 Base Module employs the Open Compute Project Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) that enables a common, programmer-friendly language between vendor network operating systems and the particular silicon residing on the physical switch. Today, SAI helps web-scale companies and cloud providers take advantage of the latest silicon innovation by enabling them to program the switches more granularly.
- OS10 Application Modules – On top of the base module, OS10 can support traditional networking functions (L2/L3 protocols) from Dell as well as numerous third-party, native Linux, and open source applications such as IP, fabric and security services combined with management and automation tools. This allows customers to tailor IT operations for different use case and operational processes.
OS10’s unmodified Linux base would provide distinct advantages as customers increasingly look to design applications and data centers across server, storage and networking – not just one silo. While OS10 will have appeal for traditional network operators seeking conventional programming means, the software would also appeal to DevOps communities seeking a consistent, common development environment across server, storage and networking elements.
“OS10 represents an interesting new direction for Dell as it continues to extend and enhance its networking portfolio with innovations in software and hardware,” said Brad Casemore, Research Director, Datacenter Networks, IDC. “It’s worth noting that Dell also is looking beyond networking as an operational silo or a discrete domain, anticipating fast-evolving requirements for consumption models, IT operations, and the breaking down of traditional IT silos.”
In March, Dell expects OS10 base module will begin shipping and Dell-developed application modules will enter beta testing for release later in the year.