White Box Switches
Increase agility & lower costs with white box switches powered by merchant silicon.
What is a White Box Switch?
With white-box switches, enterprises can realize a number of benefits, including vendor independence, reduced hardware and operational costs, more flexibility and greater customization with an array of software tools, easier to scale without incurring the costs associated with proprietary solutions, and greater innovation by using open-spec hardware and software.
What is Driving the Adoption of White Box Switches?
Proprietary Vendor Lock-In
White-box switches provide organizations with greater choice and independence from proprietary vendors, reducing vendor lock-in and increasing competition in the market.
Reduced IT Budgets
White-box switches are typically less expensive than proprietary, traditional switches, making them an attractive option for organizations looking to upgrade their network infrastructure without breaking the budget.
Lack of Customization
Proprietary switches can be limited in their ability to be customized and integrated with existing network infrastructure and management tools. White-box switches provide greater customization options, allowing organizations to better align their network infrastructure with their specific needs and requirements.
Supply Chain Challenges
The IT hardware industry is facing several challenges, including component shortages, supply chain disruptions, shipping delays, and price increases. As organizations struggle to find the hardware they need, more are turning to white-box switches, which typically have better availability.
Amid recent supply chain challenges faced by traditional vendors, many organizations began transitioning to a modern open networking model, which can be transformative; however, successful implementation requires collaboration with a vendor-neutral partner possessing in-depth knowledge in this area.
What are the Benefits of White Box Switches?
Freedom of Choice
Choose your hardware and software based on your needs. Switch vendors include Edge-Core and UfiSpace, and NOS vendors include SONiC, IP Infusion and Pica8.
Significant CapEx and OpEx savings over traditional networking.
Innovate faster with a DevOps and community approach.
Reduce costs and save time with automated rollouts and operations.
White Box Switches Use Cases
Data Center Networking
White box switches offer similar functionality and performance to traditional, proprietary switches but with the added benefits of flexibility, programmability, and interoperability. They can be used for various data center applications such as top-of-rack (ToR) switching, access layer switching, leaf-spine architecture, network virtualization, and software-defined networking (SDN).
White box switches can be used to build high-performance, cost-effective enterprise networks for organizations of all sizes. They can be used for various applications such as access layer switching, network segmentation, network virtualization, and software-defined networking (SDN).
White box switches can be used to used to build and manage large-scale, high-performance telecommunications networks. Specific telecom use cases include 5G networks, mobile backhaul networks, access networks, and optical transport networks.
Service Provider Networks
White box switches can be used in service provider networks to support a wide range of services such as internet, cloud, and VPN services. They can be used for various applications such as core routing, edge routing, network virtualization, and software-defined networking (SDN).
White box switches can be used in campus networks to provide fast and reliable networking for students, faculty, and staff. They provide the ability to run custom network operating systems and applications, enabling campus networks to tailor their infrastructure to specific needs and requirements.
White box switches can be used in Internet of Things (IoT) networks to provide low-latency and high-bandwidth networking for connected devices. They can be used for various applications such as edge computing, network segmentation, and IoT device management.
What is the Difference Between White Box and Bare Metal Switches?
The primary difference between white box and bare metal switches is white box switches come with a network operating system (NOS) preloaded whereas bare metal switches do not. Bare metal switches come preloaded only with the ONIE (Open Network Install Environment) bootloader. In other words, once you load a NOS onto a bare metal switch, it becomes a white box switch. Unlike traditional switches, both bare metal and white box switches are Linux-based, which helps network administrators customize the devices specific to their organization’s needs. For bare metal/white box switches, the NOS typically comes from third-party vendors, such as SONiC, Pica8, or IPInfusion. Some switch vendors offer their own NOS, though typically a third-party NOS is a more robust option. Traditional switch vendors typically require the use of their proprietary (closed) NOS with their switches (e.g., Juniper Junos OS or Cisco IOS). The industry terms “white box switch” and “bare metal switch” are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two.
How Can We Help You Succeed?
White box switches can be a game changer for your organization, but realizing their full value requires a trusted partner. Our team of experts can offer vendor-neutral guidance and assess whether an open networking model is appropriate for your organization’s unique needs. We are partnered with industry-leading vendors, and our prior real-world experience implementing white box solutions enables us to identify the best approach based on prior use cases. We guide customers through every stage of the implementation process, from discovery to consultation, roadmap creation, adoption, implementation, and management. Our experts, with their diverse backgrounds in networking, security, cloud, and other key areas, help determine the most effective approach to implementing an open networking solution, taking into account both emerging and legacy solutions.
Leveraging years of open networking and infrastructure experience across diverse industries, we ensure seamless integration across your entire technology stack.
We have deep relationships with the top disaggregate hardware, software, and solutions vendors.
End-to-End Networking Solutions
Our team of network architects builds next-gen networks tailored to your unique use case and provides end-to-end solutions from discovery to deployment and management.
We follow a vendor and technology-agnostic approach to ensure you get the best holistic solution based on your needs.
We are a Trusted Open Networking Source
technical resources & partners
years of industry experience