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BT Tests Dell EMC Disaggregated Switches

August 23, 2017

BT (News - Alert) is working with Dell EMC on a proof of concept trial that leverages disaggregated switching to allow for more flexible networking. This effort is taking place at BT Labs in Adastral Park, Suffolk. And during it, BT will be evaluating the performance of the Dell (News - Alert) EMC disaggregated switches against traditional integrated switching hardware.

In announcing the news, the companies remind us that the march is on to leverage merchant silicon and standard open network switches to allow for more agile networks and more responsiveness to customer requirements for quick turnaround times. Such switches, the companies add, can be managed using the Netconf protocol and YANG.

With these kinds of networks and switches, the company say, a company like BT could enable third parties – like enterprises – to active Ethernet circuits. It would also allow the network to be programmable to turn up and down bandwidth at preordained times.

Neil McRae is chief architect of BT. In an interview with Telco Transformation earlier this month, McRae commented: “Our vision -- one of the visions we have -- is this abolishment of a network operation center. So, today we have many operatives that run divisioning, do fault-finding, troubleshooting, deal with network issues day in, day out. And quite a lot of that's manually managed. Our vision is that this automation probably doesn't make that go away completely, but certainly reduces it, and also augments the capability that we have.”

He also talked about what agility will bring to the table. “It's being able to introduce services to customers quicker, faster, more right first time,” he said. “But it's also about being able to deal with problem areas quickly and well, and actually being able to automate manual solutions to customer problems so they don't even know that they have been down by switching to a backup path, or switching to a backup service, or doing something that's much more automated than what our industry has today.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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