ONE Summit Diamond Sponsor Dell Technologies is working to help the SONiC community to develop SONiC — the Software for Open Networking In the Cloud — an open source network operating system (NOS) based on Linux that runs on over 100 different switches from multiple vendors and ASICs. It offers a full-suite of network functionality, like BGP and RDMA, that has been production-hardened in the data centers of some of the largest cloud-service providers and offers teams the flexibility to create the network solutions they need while leveraging the collective strength of a large ecosystem and community.
The Linux Foundation Networking is proud to present this guest blog on behalf of Paul Koteras or Dell Technologies Product Marketing.
In the past, the network was often the inhibitor of a modernized IT data center, built with closed, proprietary and rigid network operating systems that were ill suited for multi-cloud and cloud-centric applications. Today however, customers are beginning to view networking differently. With SONiC, it’s now possible to support application-centric fabrics, built on a container-based architecture that embraces automation, programmability, and telemetry, with better reliability and security.
Since our launch of the Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies in June 2021, we have continued to evolve this platform with feature enhancements designed to support a growing number of enterprise data center use cases, while improving manageability and support for common third-party toolsets that simplify the management and monitoring of large-scale Enterprise networks. As we continue to evolve Enterprise SONiC, customers have responded positively.
One such customer, team.blue, is a rapidly expanding service provider with operations across more than 10 countries in Europe that is responsible for hosting over two million customers. Like many organizations today, their network was built on a proprietary and rigid technology. And, while stable, it was lacking in visibility and control and they felt constrained by the low-scalability and steep learning curve of their current solution. As they investigated options for something more modern, open-source and third-party vendor options piqued their interests. As the benefits of open source became more apparent, they narrowed their focus to SONiC and when Dell Technologies announced the launch of a fully validated and supported commercial distribution of SONiC, they reached out.
After taking a step back to determine what they really needed from a new networking solution, they came to Dell with a set of criteria. It needed to be a reliable platform with greater flexibility, control, and telemetry capabilities for visibility. In short, they wanted an open source solution with Enterprise features and support, and a trusted partner who could assist them through the migration. They started by implementing a two-tier leaf-and-spine architecture using Dell PowerSwitch Z-series at the spine layer and Dell PowerSwitch S-series with MCLAG and VXLAN EVPN at the leaf layer, or top of rack, in a 10-rack installation to validate the solution, enabling them to slowly migrate away from their previous solution. In a phased migration plan, all based on Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies, team.blue plans to eventually convert all 5 of their data centers to Enterprise SONiC totalling more than 100 racks.
Team.blue was excited to tap into the scalability and API-based orchestration and telemetry functions of SONiC and saw benefits almost immediately in terms of ease of fabric setup, automated provisioning, and flexibility in building customized monitoring from telemetry exports. In addition, they felt deploying a more modern solution made them more attractive in a competitive market to potential clients.
One of the keys to a successful migration was Dell’s implementation and migration expertise with SONiC, helping team.blue move straight into production in roughly a month. “The fact that SONiC is already proven at scale, combined with the commitment from the Dell Technologies team made us confident that it was production ready,” says Michael Munk Lassen, Head of Technology, Infrastructure for team.blue in the Nordics. In the end, Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies helped team.blue meet their technology and business objectives by providing them with an automated, intent-based and secure containerized network, that was scalable enough to support future business growth, with enhanced telemetry and overall lower total cost of ownership.
Since then, we’ve continued the innovation by launching Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies 4.0, specifically designed for Retail and Branch Edge use cases, that provides customers a unified fabric from the data center to the edge via a single NOS, enabling streamlined network deployment, operations and monitoring, all while using the same familiar network management tools they’ve grown accustomed to. In addition, 4.0 brought support for data center interconnect (DCI), allowing management of SONiC installations across disparate sites, supporting an active-standby approach for business continuity, disaster recovery, increased application availability, and simplified operations.
And, most recently, we launched the open hardware program, empowering customers with the choice and flexibility of a single Network Operating System in a multi-vendor environment. This provides the ability to build a fabric tailored to customer needs with a wider portfolio of hardware options, but without vendor lock-in.
We are excited about being a Diamond Sponsor for ONE Summit this year, and for the innovations still to come. If you would like to view the team.blue case study in its entirety and see what else is happening with Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies, visit our site https://www.Dell.com/EnterpriseSONiC.
By Paul Koteras
Product Marketing, Dell Technologies