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Dell Force10 Pushes for Open, Standardized Cloud Interfaces

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November 02, 2011

Dell Force10 Pushes for Open, Standardized Cloud Interfaces

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor


A recent white paper from data center networks company Dell (News - Alert) Force10 does a good job looking at open cloud networking. The advantage of the cloud model, as the paper finds, is that data center managers can “mix and match computing, storage, and networking resources to provide a flexible resource for customer applications.”


But as the paper details, it needs open, standardized interfaces between data center layers of computer resources, the network, and storage elements. And, unfortunately, networking has remained largely proprietary.

Dell Force10 officials note that their Open Cloud Networking framework is intended to help users get the most out of cloud deployments by “unlocking the network layer so data center operators can get the most out of their data center architectures.”

The paper does a good job outlining four major areas of open cloud that need focus:

The Lagging Network Layer. The history of computing has been one of movement from proprietary to open standards. Server and software vendors have embraced Intel (News - Alert) X86 architectures with standard operating systems such as Windows, Linux, VMWare,

and others. In this environment, customers are less willing to be tied down to the pace of innovation of just one vendor. By limiting choice, the closed network layer forces users to build

data centers in a specific way that may not meet their needs.

Open Cloud Networking. The Open Cloud Networking framework enables data center architectures that are driven by customer needs rather than vendor needs. Open Cloud

Networking is based on three elements: open architectures, open automation, and open ecosystems.

Open Architectures. The Open Cloud Networking infrastructure relies on open,

standards-based technology for interfaces, interconnect, control plane, and other aspects of network operations. Dell Force10 officials say that since no two data centers are exactly the same, flexibility “meets varied data center needs as no other approach can.”

Open Automation. For maximum choice, automation shouldn’t be something that forces users down a single vendor path. Open automation allows users to automate with

their choice of products.

“Cloud computing is rapidly gaining acceptance as the primary model for delivering flexible compute resources with high agility and reduced management costs,” Dell Force10 officials say, noting that the vision of cloud computing “can’t be realized to its full potential unless the computing, networking and storage layers of the data center are all derived from open, standardized interfaces and software.”


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Tammy Wolf







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