Dell and friends target the telco edge, Open RAN

Jun 10, 2021

  • Dell wants to be a key partner to telcos as they explore edge service opportunities
  • It has developed new server and edge asset orchestration software suitable for Open RAN and other use cases
  • Dell has also amassed a set of partners that can deliver the functionality needed, especially for mobile networking
  • Move is similar to HPE’s recent pitch to telcos

Dell is aiming to become a key partner for telcos as they execute their edge services strategies by offering a portfolio of technologies, industry relationships and lab facilities that can help network operators make good use of distributed compute and storage platforms for their operations and service delivery. 

The portfolio includes Project Metalweaver, a “flexible software solution enabling CSPs to easily select, autonomously deploy and manage thousands of multi-vendor compute, network and storage devices across multiple locations… Open and on-demand resources can be scaled simply to multi-premises, backed by Dell Technologies global support and services.” 

In addition, Dell has developed new reference IT platform architectures for edge, core and Open RAN, and has gathered a broad range of partners to help deliver appropriate functionality for those use cases: Its partners include VMware, Red Hat, Affirmed Networks and Nokia (both for core network functions), CommScope Ruckus (private networks), Intel (Smart Edge MEC), Mavenir (5G Open RAN software to run on Dell EMC PowerEdge XR11 ruggedized servers). 

It is also opening an Open Telecom Ecosystem lab at its Round Rock, Texas headquarters to offers CSPs “the ability to mirror customer locations and test multi-vendor, real-world solutions and services.”

“Telecom companies need ways to mitigate the risk and complexities associated with evolving their network infrastructure,” noted Dennis Hoffman, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Dell Technologies Telecom Systems Business. “An open, cloud-native approach is the answer to quickly capture this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and move beyond the hype of 5G to the reality of a resilient next-generation network that creates more opportunities for operators, industries of all kinds and communities around the world.”

Is Hoffman suggesting there’s no hype around the edge?

You can read Dell’s full announcement here

Dell’s move is similar to that made by HPE’s Communications Technology Group earlier this year, and it’s no surprise that the server giants are aiming to become close partners to the telcos as any billions of capex will be invested by network operators in underlying IT infrastructure in the coming years as more and more functionality is virtualized and run on server systems from the likes of Dell, HPE, IBM and Lenovo. (See HPE unveils Open RAN stack with optimized server.)

Ultimately, of course, this spells good news for Intel, currently the dominant supplier of the chips at the heart of such IT infrastructure.

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV 

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