DOD greenlights Dell open network switches for agency use

DOD greenlights Dell open network switches for agency use

The Defense Department put a set of Dell networking switches on its approved product list, certifying the systems were designed and built according to DOD interoperability and security requirements and clearing the technology for use in federal networks.

Dell’s S4810, S4820T, S6000 and Z9000 software-defined network (SDN)-ready switches were added to DOD’s Unified Capabilities Approved Products List, the company said.

The APL works as a seal of approval from DOD that the products work with its networks. It’s also useful for smaller agencies that lack resources to do their own certification, said Dell officials.

“APL is the place where a lot of government agencies will go to look at approved technologies that have already been tested so that they won’t do harm to existing networks,” said Steve Septoff, executive director of Dell’s Enterprise Solutions Group.

As part of process, products must pass stringent interoperability (IO) and information assurance compliance testing. The IO review ensures the products work with technology from other vendors, while the IA test verifies the switches comply with Security Technical Implementation Guidelines (STIG). 

The addition of the switches fills out a complement of Dell devices, from laptops through data center switches, that have passed the DOD security tests.

“Given the ability to put these certifications through on our end point devices all the way through our data center technologies is wrapping security around the whole thing,” said Septoff. “Security is embedded into these products.”

The systems also offer SDN features that will let government customers virtualize their data center infrastructures as needed with fixed, open and standards-based platforms. “The technologies that we put through the process are standalone switches and move into SDN as customers want to take on that profile,” Septoff said.

“We have an entire portfolio of Dell networking products that range from low end to medium to large data center,” he added. “We decided to introduce products in each one of those areas to service the government end user customer better in their SDN space in a small, medium and large data center environment. So we have a sampling across all of those.”

The four systems range from top-of-rack and blade switches to high-performance 10/40GbE fabrics, Dell said. The technologies ensure access to applications via intelligence-based service levels and adapting to changing traffic patterns. The products include:

The S4810 is an ultralow latency, high-density, 10 Gigabit Ethernet top-of-rack switch with four 40 GbE uplinks to ensure line-rate performance; with Dell Networking OS and storage optimization for iSCSI, FCoE transit and DCB.

The S4820T 1/10G BASE-T top-of-rack switch is built for high performance data centers. By leveraging a non-blocking, cut-through switching architecture, the S4820T delivers line-rate L2/L3 features to maximize network performance.

The S6000 delivers high-density 40GbE switch (32 ports of 40GbE or 96 ports of 10GbE1 and eight ports of 40GbE) with high performance for ToR, MoR and EoR deployments, according to Dell. The switch includes the Dell Networking Operating System, VLT, built-in network virtualization features and support for Dell Open Automation Framework.

The Z9000 is Dell Networking’s “high performance efficient fabric switch for modern data center traffic,” said Septoff. The Z9000 is a high-density 32-port 40 GbE Core Router/Switch in 2RU form factor; line rate, non-blocking, low-latency and lower power switch enabling a greener, faster data center.

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