Dell wants to be an open-source network services provider

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. 

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