Dell networking OS10 box

Dell Raises the Bar for Open Networking with New Disaggregated Software to Maximize Customer Choice and Capability

Dell extended its reach in Open Networking with the announcement of Operating System 10 (OS10) from Dell Networking. This next-generation networking software is designed to introduce new levels of software flexibility and programmability in large-scale data center environments.

The OS10 software environment advances the functionality of modern data centers by disaggregating network software, so customers have more choice in how software is used throughout IT operations.

“Modern, software-defined, data centers require a fresh approach to operations – not just for the network, but across compute and storage elements as well,” said William Tan, head of Enterprise Solutions, Dell Malaysia. “We’re excited about these new products. “OS10 gives customers a future-ready springboard to innovate their networks and data center infrastructure more quickly and consistently, affording customers greater efficiency and capability at scale.”

“OS10 represents an interesting new direction for Dell as it continues to extend and enhance its networking portfolio with innovations in software and hardware,” said Brad Casemore, Research Director, Datacenter Networks, IDC. “It’s worth noting that Dell also is looking beyond networking as an operational silo or a discrete domain, anticipating fast-evolving requirements for consumption models, IT operations, and the breaking down of traditional IT silos.” Dell OS10 abstraction

Disaggregating the Network OS Stack

The OS10 platform is designed around new benchmarks for open software modularity so users can create the most efficient and flexible paths across networked systems. OS10 is comprised of a base module and various optional application modules. Now, what had formerly been bundled into tightly-integrated, vendor-specific stacks, has been separated to enhance customer choice, control and programmability.

  • OS10 Base Module – The OS10 Base Module is available for free and runs a fully-open, unmodified Linux distribution. Linux is one of the most widely-used operating systems and can provide a common language across multiple IT layers including networking, storage and compute. The OS10 Base Module can leverage the Linux community-based benefits which can help enhance its programmability, portability, and flexibility for the application layer above it.

Below it, the OS 10 Base Module employs the Open Compute Project Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) that enables a common, programmer-friendly language between vendor network operating systems and the particular silicon residing on the physical switch. Today, SAI helps web-scale companies and cloud providers take advantage of the latest silicon innovation by enabling them to program the switches more granularly.

  • OS10 Application Modules – On top of the base module, OS10 can support traditional networking functions (L2/L3 protocols) from Dell as well as numerous third-party, native Linux, and open source applications such as IP, fabric and security services combined with management and automation tools. This allows customers to tailor IT operations for different use case and operational processes.

From Network Operations to Development Operations

OS10’s unmodified Linux base provides distinct advantages as customers increasingly look to design applications and data centers across server, storage and networking – not just one silo. While OS10 will have appeal for traditional network operators seeking conventional programming means, the software will also appeal to DevOps communities seeking  a consistent, common development environment across server, storage and networking elements.

“The ability for organizations to define their infrastructure-as-code is a foundational and necessary part of any DevOps initiative, enabling practices like collaboration and continuous delivery,” said Nigel Kersten, CIO at Puppet Labs. “It provides one common language that can be shared across traditionally siloed organizations – like development, compute, networking and storage – reducing unnecessary complexity, while increasing both speed and availability. We look forward to continuing to work with Dell and the new OS10 offering as more organizations apply DevOps practices to network management.”

Unlocking Customer Innovation

OS10 highlights the potential for helping customers rapidly develop, customize and ultimately take advantage of a true software-defined data center. Some examples include:

  • “OS10 from Dell Networking provides the unique flexibility and programmability necessary for a modern cloud provider to innovate and succeed in a fast-changing environment. We’re already seeing significant operational benefits from having server-like manageability combined with our server-centric automation tools.” – Jason Long, Director, Network Architecture & Operations, Joyent


  • “I believe Dell is onto something special with OS10. It provides a unique development platform to rapidly prototype customized solutions and help slash time to production. With OS10’s openness and programming adaptability, I’ve been able to install standard mono runtime and the F# language packages and quickly develop a secure IoX application gateway. I can even compile and debug on OS10, and because I have the same software stack, I can do it on my PC to be more productive. I love it!” – Antonio Cisternino, Vice-Director IT Center, University of Pisa


In March, Dell expects OS10 base module will begin shipping and Dell-developed application modules will enter beta testing for release later in the year.

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