Whitebox networking is all the rage. HP (NYSE: HPQ) last week announced it was teaming with Cumulus to deliver whiteboxes. And Cisco Systems (Nasdaq:CSCO) recently explained on a conference call with analysts why it’s going to “crush” them.
We’ll be covering this topic today in an exclusive CrowdChat, sponsored by Pica8, at 11 AM PST. The chat will bring together experts in the whitebox community to discuss the evolution of the whitebox market, why it’s important, and how big it is.
But first: What are white boxes? In conceptual format, they are stripped down commodity Ethernet switches, using merchant silicon, that allow customers to install their own operating system (OS) and applications. This is an approach known as “bare metal” in which the box ships relatively clean, and the customer customizes the software installation, including the OS
Whiteboxes have gotten a lot of interest because they could become the foundation of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and offer a more open, potentially economical alternative, to proprietary networking boxes. Emerging startups such as Cumlus and Pica8 make specially designed Linux-based networking OSes for the whiteboxes. Integrators and hardware manufacturers are putting together whitebox hardware for SDN applications. Dell, HP, and startups such as Pluribus Networks have been aggressive in pursuing this approach.
I’m looking forward to getting a bunch of whitebox enthusiasts together for an online social chat on this topic. I’ll be moderating today’s discussion. Some of the questions I’ll cover:
What is an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) and how do they play into whiteboxes?
What are some of the top use cases for whiteboxes?
What are some of the more common misconceptions.
How do you start working with whiteboxes?
This should be a great event. I hope you can join me to learn about this exciting new market. You can listen in on Twitter via #whitebox at 11 AM, or else tune in to the discussion with a more interactive interface by using the CrowdChat application, which can be accessed by this page here.