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Dell EMC offering a VeloCloud SD-WAN Edge appliance

The new Dell EMC SD-WAN Edge product includes hardware and support, as well as VMware's VeloCloud software.

Companies have another option when buying VMware's VeloCloud software. Dell EMC announced this week that it will offer and support the software-defined WAN on hardware called the Dell EMC SD-WAN Edge.

At the Dell Technologies World user conference in Las Vegas, Dell EMC said it would sell VeloCloud software as a subscription while handling all support calls for the SD-WAN Edge hardware and software bundle.

"From a tech buyer standpoint, existing Dell customers will be able to leverage their Dell and partner relationships with Dell providing Level 1 and 2 support," said Rohit Mehra, an analyst at IDC. The first two tiers of support typically include basic troubleshooting and help to fix some technical problems.

Dell EMC also introduced support services for companies planning to deploy any SD-WAN technology. The services provided by Dell Technologies Consulting Services include helping companies plan, customize and scale an SD-WAN platform, which is typically used for WAN access from an enterprise branch.

Dell EMC's parent company, Dell Technologies, owns more than 80% of VMware's stock. VMware bought VeloCloud in 2017 and has made the product its flagship WAN edge offering, officially calling it VMware NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud. The product includes software and hardware edge appliances, orchestration software, and cloud-resident gateways.

Dell EMC also announced it had changed the name of its open switching hardware to PowerSwitch and introduced the first product family under the new brand.

The latest open switch family is the PowerSwitch S Series, which is available in 12- or 24-port top-of-rack options. The series includes 25, 40, 50 and 100 GbE switches and a half-width model designed for hyper-converged infrastructure systems. Before the name change, Dell EMC called its open hardware Open Networking Switches.

Dell partners with Big Switch

The PowerSwitch announcement came a few days after Dell EMC announced an OEM agreement with the software-defined networking vendor Big Switch Networks Inc. Under the deal, Dell EMC agreed to offer Big Switch software through its Ready Stack program. Ready Stack lets partners build converged systems using Dell's infrastructure portfolio, which includes storage and servers with open networking as an option.

Big Switch makes software for network virtualization and for managing switching fabrics. Its core products include Big Monitoring Fabric and Big Cloud Fabric.

Dell EMC markets its open networking portfolio as a more flexible option compared to products from rivals Arista, Cisco and Juniper Networks, which sell switches that are more dependent on the vendors' software. With open switches, buyers can choose from a list of network operating systems and other software that can run on the hardware.

Analyst firms expect to see growth in the number of companies opting to buy software separate from hardware. The 650 Group, a market intelligence firm based in Portola Valley, Calif., predicts revenue from disaggregated hardware and software will increase 33% annually through 2023

The size of the market today is a sliver of the overall amount spent annually on data center switching. However, by 2023, open networking technology will account for 6% of total revenue, or $1.35 billion -- not counting purchases for hyperscale data centers developed by companies like AWS, Google and Microsoft, said Alan Weckel, an analyst at 650 Group.

While the percentage "doesn't sound that sexy," it represents an amount many times larger than the total annual revenue of the majority of vendors, Weckel said. "It's a very respectable and decent market."

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