White box switching has been the purview of big “Web 2.0” types so far. Volume sales of white box switches — off-the-shelf hardware, onto which arbitrary software can be loaded — have been driven by Google and, more recently, Amazon.
Activity and interest abound, but we haven’t seen white boxes embraced by more traditional companies — normal ones, if you want to think of it that way. That might be about to change.
Verizon is starting a trial of white box switching, according to analyst Scott Raynovich. He reported this development on his Rayno Report blog today, quoting one source who called it a “massive push for bare metal.” (I tend to use the terms “bare metal” and “white box” interchangeably, by the way.)
Verizon will use a combination of software from Cumulus, Pica8, and Juniper, with Juniper contributing “routing and switching technology that helps tie the network together with VXLAN technology,” Raynovich reports.
This isn’t so far-fetched; Verizon tells Raynovich that Verizon Cloud (based on the former Terremark) is already based on white box servers.
“These are big moves by Verizon, confirming that SDN and white box networking is for real and is getting closer to broader deployment,” Raynovich writes.
There’s a logical side conclusion here, that Raynovich touches on. Former Juniper CEO Shaygan Kheradpir, deposed last week, was once an executive at Verizon. It’s easy to speculate that Kheradpir might have encouraged Verizon’s white box movement to an extent that Juniper — obviously interested in continuing to make money on proprietary switches — was not comfortable with.