Bare-faced metal-weaving cheek — Dell pachyderm moves into RobinIO’s 5G telco room

A great big Dell elephant has invaded’s telco market for Kubernetes-based orchestration with its Bare Metal Orchestrator. has grown its Kubernetes storage facility into a complete 5G system roll-out orchestrator for telcos, putting great vertical market distance between it and other Kubernetes storage providers such as MayaData, Pure’s Portworx, Red Hat OpenShift, NetApp’s Astra, OnDat and others.

A statement from Dennis Hoffman, SBP and GM of Dell’s Telecom Systems Business, said: “Bare Metal Orchestrator gives communication services providers an easier way to deploy and manage open network infrastructure while saving costs and time, allowing them to focus on delivering new and differentiated services to their customers.”

Back in June, Dell said it was anchoring an open, cloud-native telecom ecosystem with infrastructure and solutions, industry partners and an Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab. Dell would launch a cloud-native network infrastructure with a full stack of open, scalable carrier-grade server and software offerings to help telcos provide 5G facilities at the edge.

This involved Project Metalweaver — software enabling CSPs to select, autonomously deploy and manage thousands of multi-vendor compute, network and storage devices across multiple locations. It also includes reference architectures to span telecommunications in edge, core and Open RAN environments. 

CSPs would be offered deployment possibilities based on Dell hardware and software, the VMware Telco Cloud Platform and Red Hat OpenShift, and using:

  • Core software solutions from Affirmed Networks, 
  • Private network solutions from CommScope Ruckus,
  • Multi-access edge computing (MEC) solutions with Intel Smart Edge,
  • 5G Open RAN software developed by Dell Technologies in collaboration with Mavenir on Dell EMC PowerEdge XR11 ruggedised servers,
  • Core software solutions from Nokia.

Mavenir is an end-to-end, cloud-native network software provider, and a competitor.

Dell’s Bare Metal Orchestrator is the first software to come from Project Metalweaver and gives CSPs tools to discover and inventory networked servers, bring them online and deploy software in them. It uses so-called declarative automation to tell these servers to deploy software stacks and workloads. This can, Dell says, eliminate days or weeks of configuration and provisioning to bring network hardware into a workload-ready state in an Open RAN environment. 

Dell also announced a validated Solution for Mavenir Open vRAN and VMware Telco Cloud Platform, a reference architecture for Wind River Studio, and Respond and Restore for Telecom support services.


We are seeing the development of automated provisioning of potentially hundreds of thousands of embedded server/networking/cloud-native software systems at 5G edge locations with lifecycle management built in. Storage, inevitably local and direct-attached storage, is a small but necessary part of this.

Dell is going to use its IT industry status, worldwide supply and support capabilities, along with specialist technology partners such as Mavenir to blast its way into this market as a major player from day one. is going to have to learn how to tap dance around Michael Dell’s marauding pachyderm. Maybe it needs to ally with some other server supplier — someone like HPE or Lenovo.