The Myth Of White-Box Network Switches

White-Box Network Hardware Offers Organizations More Flexibility And Choice, But That Comes With More Responsibility

February 20th, 2015
With contributors:
Glenn O'Donnell, Michael Caputo


Public cloud platforms have sent the networking industry into a froth of hyperbole. Over the past few years, companies offering x-as-a-service (XaaS) have been making claims that transitioning the network over to white-box switches reduced the network infrastructure costs by 90%. While white box and bare metal provide a unique value to XaaS companies, enterprise infrastructure and operations (I&O) organizations should be cautious about these claims and hidden tradeoffs. This report shines a light on vendor merchant silicon switches, steps through a cost breakdown of white-box and vendor switches, and analyzes the facts to draw attention to where the real costs exist. The research also examines the responsibilities I&O professionals must assume when white-box switches are incorporated into the enterprise network.

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