Dell introduces S6000 data centre switch

Said to ‘double’ 10/40GbE densities, unify physical and virtual infrastructure

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Dell introduces S6000 data centre switch Dell’s new S6000, said to be ‘the industry’s highest-density 1RU 10/40GbE switching platform’.
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 10, 2013

Dell Networking today expanded its S-series portfolio with the new S6000, said to be "the industry's highest-density 1RU 10/40GbE switching platform for highly-virtualised data centres".

A fixed form-factor design, Dell claims the S6000 doubles density and throughput while "consuming up to 50% less power than previous generation top-of-rack switches". Built-in advanced virtualisation and automation features help organisations scale larger virtual deployments in a smaller physical footprint, and help solve the challenge of bridging virtualised and non-virtualised aspects of the infrastructure.

Today's data centres are going through substantive and rapid change, Dell argues. Growth in server virtualisation and cloud deployments are driving denser deployments with significantly increased bandwidth requirements. The predominance of East-West traffic inside data centres generated by newer workloads such as Hadoop, virtual desktop infrastructure, Web and cloud applications is causing many companies to consider new network architectures to maximise efficiency and economics.

Deployed as 32 40GbE ports or 96 10GbE ports plus 8 40GbE ports in 1RU, the S6000 is designed to support new, more flexible network architectures for high-density compute racks in top-of-rack position, or provide network connectivity for multiple racks in efficient end-of-row or middle-of-row configurations.

The switch is also said to provide up to 2.56Tbps performance, which, according to Dell, is twice that of similar competitive products in a standard 1RU form factor, allowing customers to "aggressively invest" in 10GbE for in-rack server and storage connectivity

Dell stressed that the S6000is also energy efficient: "[It] is Fresh Air capable and validated as part of Dell's Fresh Air cooling solution for servers, storage and networking," the company said.

"By leveraging the thermal and reliability advantages engineered into this portfolio of equipment, customers are able to run data centres even warmer, helping reduce additional maintenance and infrastructure costs, while enabling lower overall energy consumption."

The S6000 supports advanced network virtualisation and software-defined networking features including hardware-accelerated layer 2 gateway functionality for use with VMware NSX, bridging traffic between virtualised and non-virtualised environments. Dell is also previewing enhanced functionality with Active Fabric Manager (AFM) 2.0 specifically for VMware environments. Active Fabric Manager provides simplified configuration, management and monitoring of Dell Active Fabric leaf and spine elements. With AFM 2.0, Dell will be introducing command-line interface functionality for VMware vSphere Distributed Switch allowing organisations to now configure both physical and virtual fabric switches with common design templates and industry-standard command line syntax.

Like the rest of the Dell Networking S-series portfolio, S6000 supports OpenFlow for controller-based applications; Bare Metal Provisioning (BMP) for rapid and automated deployments; Virtual Server Networking (VSN) for automated VM mobility and VLAN configuration; and Perl and Python scripting for programmability and interworking with development operations (DevOps).

"Virtual environments are expanding while physical footprints remain constant, resulting in massive density increases in servers and storage. Networks need to keep up. That's what inspired the S6000," said Shabbir Ahmad, regional sales director, Networking, EMEA Emerging Markets, Dell.

"The S6000 platform can help customers unify virtualised and non-virtualised IT elements, providing a gateway to a software-defined enterprise."

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