Dell EMC offers an SDN-based underlay virtualization solution in the form of the Big Cloud Fabric (BCF) from Big Switch Networks (BSN). In this case, Dell EMC S/Z-Series 10/40/100G ON switches will be running Big Switch Networks’ Switch Light OS, and a pair of centralized controllers – built on Dell PowerEdge servers – will programmatically configure and provision the switches.

All Dell EMC switches that have the “ON” designation (Open Networking) leverage the ONIE (Open Networking Install Environment) installer, which is a lightweight Linux operating system (“shim”) with a bootloader that enables the switch to load various, validated third-party operating systems. This is what is termed the disaggregated model, and it is similar to the manner in which an x86 compute platform can run different operating systems, such as UNIX, Linux or Windows.