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SDN Journal Authors: Don MacVittie, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Dinko Eror, Pat Romanski

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Dell Networking Helps Accelerate Deployment of 10 Gigabit Virtualized and Cloud Data Centers with New Switching Platform and SDN Capabilities

Dell today announced new additions to its networking portfolio to help customers enhance their networks to thrive in next-generation, software-defined 10G cloud and virtualized data centers.

Dell S4820T - High-Performance 1/10/40G Top-of-Rack Switch

The Dell S4820T top-of-rack (ToR) switch is purpose-built for deployment in high-performance data center and cloud computing environments, leveraging the popularity of twisted-pair copper cabling and providing the right mix of scalability, performance, operational simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

The Dell S4820T is powered by the Force10 operating system (FTOS) and designed to support both Layer 2 and Layer 3 functionality required for Web 2.0, enterprise and cloud server provider data centers.

Key features include:

  • 10GBASE-T connectivity - seamless migration from one gigabit to 10 gigabit servers: Especially for customers looking to consolidate server I/O at 10G, Dell enables low-cost copper connectivity between servers and switches, allowing maximum investment protection and cable reuse.
  • LAN/SAN convergence: The S4820T is also ideal for customers aiming to consolidate LAN and SAN traffic over a common DCB-enabled 10G switching fabric and is one of the first copper-based 10G switches in the industry to support Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) using twisted-pair cabling. To that end, the S4820T is being lab tested by leading 10GBASE-T network interface card (NIC) and converged network adapter (CNA) vendors—Broadcom, Emulex, Intel and QLogic.
  • High-performance fabric uplinks: The S4820T is equipped with four 40G uplinks providing for high-speed fabric connectivity enabling scalable multi-rack deployments demanded by larger customers.

Dell MXL 10/40GbE Blade Switch and PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator – Fast-Growing Dell Networking Offerings

Dell Networking continues to experience significant growth in blade switching - with the Dell MXL blade switch and the Dell PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator – reflecting customers' movement to 10/40G in the data center and more streamlined architectures for server and storage connectivity.

The Dell MXL - powered by FTOS and purpose-built for the Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade server chassis - is a full-featured 1/10/40GbE Layer 2 and Layer 3 blade switch that offers increased bandwidth, scalability, performance and operational simplicity for data center and campus environments. The Dell PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator offers similar connectivity options and is optimized for plug-and-play simplicity and rapid ‘configuration-free’ deployments.

Both products support local switching of server-to-server (east-west) traffic within the PowerEdge 1000e chassis. This enhances network performance as traffic no longer has to travel up to – and back down from – the data center core as other architectures require.

Commercial Availability of OpenFlow in FTOS

Dell also announced the commercial availability of OpenFlow for its FTOS code base. Available now for the Dell Z9000 and S4810 data center switches, OpenFlow is a key technology enabler for next-generation software-defined network (SDN) deployments. The new software is fully compliant with available standards-based OpenFlow controllers, including the Big Switch Controller from Dell partner Big Switch Networks.

The addition of commercially available OpenFlow functionality reinforces Dell’s commitment to software-defined infrastructure. Dell is one of the only vendors to offer a complete and unbiased approach to SDN embracing legacy networking environments, greenfield controller-based deployments as well as hypervisor-oriented architectures.

Dell is a founding member of the Open Network Foundation and a significant innovator and contributor in the SDN community. Dell has participated in numerous conferences, proof-of-concepts and public demonstrations to date.


“We’re seeing strong momentum in our Dell Networking business with double-digit revenue growth in our last quarter,” said Tom Burns, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking. “We see networking as a key enabler in helping enterprise customers move to next-generation, 10 and 40G solutions in application-aware, converged, virtualized and hybrid cloud environments.”

"We expect the Ethernet Switch market to experience two significant years of market growth in 2013 and 2014 from the migration of servers towards 10 Gigabit Ethernet," said Alan Weckel, Senior Director of Dell'Oro Group. "We believe that in 2013, most large enterprises will upgrade to 10 Gigabit Ethernet for server access through a mix of connectivity options ranging from blade servers, SFP+, SFP+ direct attach and 10GBASE-T.”

"Private cloud, storage, and big data analytics usage models are driving the need for increased bandwidth," said Dawn Moore, general manager, Intel Networking Division. "The Intel Ethernet CNA X540 with the Dell S4820T 10GBASE-T switch provides customers an easy migration from an existing 1G infrastructure to a high-performing, cost-effective 10G network. We've also jointly validated FCoE interoperability on this combination to help facilitate a smooth migration to a next-generation converged network."


The Dell S4820T is available worldwide now from Dell and its global PartnerDirect channel partners.

Additional Information

Dell Networking
Dell SDN point of view whitepaper
Dell S4820T – Direct2Dell post

About Dell

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit

About Dell Networking

Dell has been delivering high-performance reliable networking solutions for more than a decade and today powers some of the world’s most demanding Enterprise and Cloud/Web 2.0 environments.

Dell is a trademark of Dell Inc. Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others.

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