Dell, Aerohive Partner for Wired, Wireless Network Management

Dell also expands its Open Networking effort through alliances with vendors and the open-source community as well as new open switches.

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Dell is partnering with Aerohive Networks to offer a software tool that can manage both Dell's wired networking switches and Aerohive's wireless access points.

Through the alliance, the two companies are rolling out HiveManager NG, a cloud-based unified management solution that enables Aerohive's management tool to also include Dell's N-Series switches, a nod to the ongoing convergence of wired and wireless networks over the last several years. For example, Aruba Networks over the past several years has partnered with such vendors as Juniper Networks and Alcatel-Lucent to offered converged network offerings, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise last year bought Aruba for $3 billion to combine its wired networking expertise with Aruba's wireless products.

Juniper last year partnered with Ruckus Wireless for similar reasons, and Brocade earlier this month announced it is buying Ruckus for $1.2 billion.

Now Dell is looking to take advantage of the ongoing wired-wireless convergence with its partnership with Aerohive. The alliance was part of a larger announcement by Dell April 26 regarding moves it's making in the networking space, with other aspects touching on it Open Networking initiative and software-defined WAN (SD-WAN).

"Major trends such as cloud and software-defined create a dynamically changing IT landscape, both on campus and in the data center," Tom Burns, vice president and general manager of Dell Networking and Enterprise Infrastructure, said in a statement. "These new Dell Networking solutions help our customers navigate these changes."

The Aerohive partnership is part of Dell's One Network effort around campus networks, building a broad portfolio that helps create a single network that can rapidly scale to meet the changing demands of the campus network. The HiveManager NG software is aimed at aiding wired and wireless convergence by offering management capabilities in public and private clouds, according to company officials.

The co-branded offering includes a customizable interface and high visibility into the Dell and Aerohive networking hardware, including applications, users, switch port status and policy management. Dell also offers a single point of support through its ProSupport program.

In addition, Dell is making moves to expand its Open Networking initiative, which was announced two years ago as a way of enabling businesses to buy Dell-branded switches that can run networking software from Dell or other third-party vendors, such as Midokura, Big Switch Networks, Cumulus Networks and Pluribus Networks. Since then, company officials have been looking to expand the concept.

In January, Dell unveiled Operating System 10 (OS10), which disaggregates the network software from the underlying hardware to give customers even more flexibility in choosing how the software is used in the data center. Eventually, Dell wants to get to the point where OS10 can be used by enterprises as a data center OS for not only networking, but also storage and server resources.

Now Dell is offering its OS10 base software as a foundational element in SONiC (Software for Open Networking in the Cloud), an effort driven by the Facebook-led Open Compute Project (OCP). The goal of SONiC is to create software packages that can be installed on Linux to make a network switch operate as a fully functional router.

In addition, Dell is integrating OS10 into Red Hat's Ansible Tower management software while F5 Networks is optimizing its Application Delivery Controller technology for the software. Silver Peak, which is in the SD-WAN space, is integrating OS10 into its Edge Connect platform.

"Direct integration of Silver Peak's Edge Connect SD-WAN with OS10 illustrates the value of open software and the ease with which customers can combine best-of-breed solutions into their network infrastructure," Rolf Muralt, vice president of product management at Silver Peak, said in a statement.

Dell also is expanding its Open Networking portfolio with two new in-rack switches aimed at 10 Gigabit Ethernet environments. The S4048T-ON and S6010-ON are both ONIE (Open Network Install Environment) compliant, making it easier for customers to load and run third-party software on the systems, and offer advanced features for VXLAN. Both switches will be available next month.