Dell EMC is doubling down on its commitment to open networking and intensifying its battle with Cisco Systems with the launch of a platform designed to work with SD-WAN solutions from not only with VMware's VeloCloud, but solutions from market powers Silver Peak and Versa Networks, as well.
The Dell EMC Virtual Edge Platform (VEP) is an x86-based, universal virtual networking CPE that Dell EMC executives said can be sold to enterprises adopting SD-WAN, and as a clear alternative to buying more expensive, proprietary Cisco routers.
"The way networking has grown-up is by monetising the ASICs they have developed, and that's not this model," said Jeff Baher, Dell EMC senior director of product and technical marketing. "That's why it becomes more challenging for existing suppliers. You don't have to ditch those [legacy] routers, but they're not going to be the routers you want to use for this. Keep it for the private wide area, and you can front-end it with this."
Dell EMC said the VEP 4600 is the first SD-WAN solution to use Intel's new Xeon D-2100 processor to connect the edge to the cloud via a CPE. Dell EMC has validated three SD-WAN solutions on the platform: VMware's VeloCloud, Silver Peak Systems and Versa Networks.
Baher said the platform continues Dell EMC's drive to differentiate its open approach to networking from the proprietary approach taken by market leader Cisco Systems, even as the battle for dominance of the red-hot SD-WAN market intensifies.
Cisco acquired SD-WAN firm Viptela a little more than six months ago. Dell Technologies' VMware business closed its acquisition of SD-WAN market leader VeloCloud in December 2017.
"One approach says you can do it if you buy all of my stuff, all of my hardware and all of my software," Baher said. "Ours is a little bit different. You are making investments at the infrastructure level independent from your software. You can stay within the Dell Technologies family for a long way, or you can decide at different points to disaggregate and introduce capabilities from the ecosystem."
He added that the battle for the enterprise is ultimately through a software lens, both in the way you see it and the way you program it. "It's a software play, and the question is do you want that inextricably tied to the hardware, or do you want to have some ability to mix and match," he asked?
An executive at a large solution provider that does business with both VMware and Cisco, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it is hard to determine clear-cut winners in the SD-WAN market, and this move by Dell EMC won't make it any easier.