Dell (NADSAQ: DELL) announced hardware and software additions to its Virtual Network Architecture (VNA) portfolio, an open networking framework for IT management and workload intelligence.

The Force10 MXL 10/40GbE switch is the company’s first 40Gb blade server switch for the PowerEdge M1000e blade system. It includes Ethernet stacking, which enables up to six switching modules within one enclosure or spanning multiple enclosures to be managed as one device.

The company also introduced enhancements to the management software in its portfolio to simplify IT operations -- designed principally for the S4810 10/40G top-of-rack system -- including Force10 Operating System enhancements such as data center bridging support and Layer 2 multipath technology, which aids in scalability and control.

Dell also announced Dell Fabric Manager, an offering designed for configuring, managing and monitoring Dell Distributed Core deployments in data centers, as well as the fifth version of Open Manage Network Manager, a single console for the network management functions of existing and future Dell networking platforms in branch, campus and data center networks.

“We are taking a workload-oriented approach -- as in, ‘What does each require first?’ as opposed to starting with the network first [and] then trying to fit the application to it. In other words, networking is the enabler,” explained Dario Zamarian, vice president and general manager of Dell Networking. “The ultimate goal of VNA is to make networking as simple to set up, automate, operate and manage as servers. VNA is doing for networking what VMware did for servers.”

As big trends such as cloud, virtualization, mobility and traffic growth cause customers to rethink networking, pay-as-you-grow architecture such as that in Dell’s VNA portfolio can help its partners add networking capacity at the lowest cost for the highest performance. The channel is a key part of delivering Dell's virtual network architecture because it expands the reach of Dell solutions to the broadest set of customers that the company can have, Zamarian said.