Dell EMC has partnered with BT - or British Telecommunications - to research new ways of managing network traffic.
The goal is to explore how disaggregated switching can create flexible networks that are more responsive to customer needs.
A proof-of-concept trial, taking place at a BT lab in the UK, is using standard open network switches commonly found in data centres, coupled with specialist switching software.
BT is evaluating the performance of Dell EMC disaggregated switches against traditional integrated switching hardware to test the performance, economics and programmability of this virtualised approach.
According to BT, applying server-like principles to the delivery of dynamic network services over fixed-line and wireless networks represents shift in architecture.
Disaggregated switching uses merchant silicon based switching systems combined with either commercially available or open source system software, different from the traditional integrated network switches currently used by operators and enterprises.
BT believes that disaggregated switches have several potential advantages over traditional network switches, as they can be managed flexibly using Netconf protocol and YANG models. This allows for a programmable system with switches operated in tandem to provide new network services or make configuration changes rapidly.
“This proof-of-concept trial with Dell EMC will enable us to evaluate the performance of disaggregated switches against traditional integrated network switches, and make informed decisions about the role this kind of solution will play in the dynamic network services of the future,” BT chief architect, Neil J. McRae, said.
“We’re determined to ensure that BT’s network continues to be world-class and able to deliver the services our customers need, when and how they need them. Agility and programmability, maximising the benefits of SDN, are therefore key to our future network evolution.”
BT will work with Dell EMC to look at a number of potential use cases as part of the trial as the company evolves its network strategy to maximise the benefits of SDN (software-defined networks), NFV (network functions virtualisation) and programmable silicon.