Dell decouples hardware and software for bare-metal storage

Dell says it wants to disrupt the traditional model of network storage, by decoupling hardware and software and giving customers the choice of what OS they want to run on Dell storage hardware, instead of being locked into Dell’s OS of choice.

The vendor says it’s the first major storage vendor to give customers a choice of third-party OSes, allowing them to tailor networks for specific application needs. To begin providing that menu of OS options, Dell has signed a reseller agreement with Cumulus Networks, makers of a Linux OS for bare-metal networking devices.

“Dell is fundamentally changing the nature of the networking business, and this partnership with Cumulus Networks represents a definitive step towards disaggregating hardware and software,” said JR Rivers, co-founder and CEO of Cumulus Networks, in a statement. “In this new open, multi-vendor ecosystem that’s becoming all the more prevalent, the customer finally gets to choose exactly the components they need to build the software-defined data center of the future without having to worry about vendor lock-in.”

It’s all part of the Dell’s commitment to supporting a new disaggregated networking model for its fixed-configuration switches.

“This is a great example of innovation coming from the new Dell. Networking is an industry crying out for disruption. We’ve done this before with PCs and servers, putting us in the best position to offer a choice of network operating systems,” said Tom Burns, vice-president and general manager of Dell networking, in a statement. “Networks are like human minds – they work better when open.”

Dell says its vision is of a new data centre networking model with an open ecosystem, where customers can choose the right products to meet their needs from a range of industry-standard networking, gear, operating systems and applications that meet their specific business needs.

The company says benefits of this approach include best-of-breed networking for workloads, application and other networking needs, consistent compute and networking with a common deployment and operational model, and leveraging open source data centre solutions.

Dell expects switches running Cumukus Linux network OS will ship through the channel in the first quarter of its fiscal 2014.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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