Dell’s been involved in serious networking for years, but never quite like this. The Austin, TX PC and server giant is partnering up with Cumulus Networks to deliver Linux-based, bare-metal networking devices. Cumulus Networks has its own Linux distribution, Cumulus Linux. This Linux is designed to run on top of industry-standard networking hardware.
Dell said it would offer networking equipment that was built with nonspecialized semiconductors and an open-source operating system, as opposed to the highly proprietary gear and software from like Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard. While that is unlikely to be a huge business soon for Dell, it lends credibility and muscle to what has been a growing effort to dislodge these incumbents through cheaper, easier-to-build equipment. If Dell and others can do that, a result would be lower costs at the large data centers run by Google, Facebook and large banks and companies. Cheaper networking could also make the Internet even more ubiquitous.