The networking landscape has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, shifting from vertically integrated closed systems to open ecosystems.
This shift has been driven by the growing demand for simplified, high-performance networking solutions that can keep up with the evolving needs of enterprises, service providers and hyperscalers. In an interview at this week’s Dell Technologies World, Hasan Siraj (pictured, left), head of software products at Broadcom Inc., and Drew Schulke (right), vice president of products for networking at Dell Technologies Inc., shed light on the impact of generative artificial intelligence and AI on networking and the significance of the two companies’ partnership in delivering innovative solutions.
“Everybody is now on the same page in terms of, look, they don’t want vertically integrated systems here as well, they want an open ecosystem so that it can innovate,” Siraj stated. “And they want solutions which are based on Ethernet than anything else, and that’s something that we are working very closely with Drew and the team on.”
Siraj and Schulke spoke with theCUBE industry analysts Dave Vellante and Lisa Martin at Dell Technologies World, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed the key insights shared by Broadcom and Dell, highlighting the journey from proprietary systems to open ecosystems and the challenges and opportunities presented by the AI-driven networking landscape. (* Disclosure below.)
The transition from vertical integration to open networking
The world of networking has undergone significant transformations in recent years, driven by the emergence of generative AI and AI technologies. Hyperscale companies have been at the forefront of this transformation, advocating for simplified systems and the adoption of merchant silicon. This transition has enabled enterprises, service providers and mid-market accounts to leverage the benefits of open networking, which was initially pioneered by hyperscalers, according to Siraj.
“Networking is just 10 to 15% of the spend in a data center, but it can get in the way of the most vital optimizations,” he said. “The goal was to move networking to a model along the same lines as compute … and what has happened over the last five to seven years is networking is moving from this vertically-integrated closed systems to open networking and whatever the hyperscalers started.”
AI workloads and the challenges of load balancing and congestion control
AI providers require networks that can efficiently handle large flows of data, highlighting the importance of load balancing, congestion control and failover mechanisms, Shulke noted. He drew parallels between the requirements of AI networks and those of service providers, emphasizing the relevance of robust and scalable solutions.
The partnership between Broadcom and Dell is positioned as a full-stack collaboration, encompassing both hardware and software aspects of networking. The role of Broadcom’s merchant silicon, which powers Dell’s portfolio of simplified and high-performance networking systems, extends to the development and contribution to open-source software.
“I see tremendous promise for AI from an operational aspect,” Schulke stated. “For those of us who live in IT, when something breaks or something goes wrong, it’s like everybody attempts to prove themselves innocent and find the guilty party. The ability for us to take AI and ML and have that as a backend on all the observability engines that we have in terms of what’s going on into the environment … can become a real-time activity. This is something we’re doing across all of Dell and an ISG level and certainly plan on extending it into the networking space.”
Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of Dell Technologies World:
(* Disclosure: Broadcom Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither Broadcom nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)