whitebox

White Box Networks
How white box commodity switches can lower costs and deliver L2, L3, automation and SDN
   4 years ago
#whiteboxWhite Box NetworksHow white box commodity switches can lower costs and deliver L2, L3, automation and SDN
Scott Raynovich
Myth #1: #whiteboxes are more complex. In fact, with a single point of contact (integrator), they can be relatively simple.
Steven Noble
Not really a myth, a #whitebox can be very simple, but if you don't understand the OS, it's a new process just like changing vendors from C to J or B, etc.
dana blouin
How to educate the customer so they understand the simplicity?
afewell
absolutely untrue, while going straight to an ODM can be complex, working with 'brite box' vendors like @Dell & @pica8 solves this problem and is accessible and simple for all consumers
Pica8 Inc.
we see this as a huge shift in resellers now leaving the 'box selling' model of doing business and becoming integrators -- this is one way of re distributing the unlocked margin of a closed system from say @Cisco
Steven Noble
@afewell well a bright box has a OS with good documentation and the ability to get training.
afewell
Its now clear that for years vendors have been taking open standards and wrapping them in proprietary clokes, working directly with the source technology clears out the vendor obfuscation
Scott Raynovich
Speaking of brite box. Are we really going with that term? Gartner cheesiness leaves a bad taste in my mouth
Pica8 Inc.
@sonoble exectly, bright box aka @Dell is another way to think about them being a system integrator and picking up customer mind share -- all good!
Steven Noble
@afewell there is a bigger issue, there are @Cisco standard implementations and such
afewell
agreed a bit cheesy, I would be open to an alternative term but needs to be well-recognized, brite box is probably the best term for that now
Scott Raynovich
Yes I guess I should have invented. Too slow.
Pica8 Inc.
@afewell let's give @Gartner @fast_learner some credit for coming up with ''bright box'' :)
Scott Raynovich
Steven Noble can you elaborate? Do you think Cisco will try to hijack the open #SDN efforts?
dana blouin
If Cisco can, they will. LoL
Scott Raynovich
Yep. Gartner wins again. >Sigh<
afewell
@rayno Cisco has both more open and more closed solution offerings, imho they will almost always lead with their more closed offerings, that is where we can really help educate ... even if you buy cisco, you dont have to the most closed option
Steven Noble
not that Cisco will, just that Cisco has their own standard implementations of everything which become defacto
afewell
some customers will buy cisco no matter what, but if they buy it in a more open way, the next go-around they will see they didnt need all the vendor fud
Pica8 Inc.
@afewell that comes back to tax day and the Cisco tax. Indeed, people will always pay that higher tax, but we hope more and more people see that they can lower that tax by leveraging integrators or leveraging DevOps tools and thinking
afewell
imho someone needs to tell Cisco customers to skip apic & the 9k, if they insist on cisco they should buy the ENC and the 3k which would be far better for the industry imho, making Cisco a bit more honest by customer wallet vote
Scott Raynovich
Ha! Nice work in to tax day. Haven't written my check yet ;-(
Gregory J. Browning
Does this mean there will be a single management interface - much like Cisco UCS to manage all your switches from a single management interace?
Tate Cantrell
great question @newcoit - platform needs that functionality.
Scott Raynovich
Great point and I'm surprised a new uber-#SDN management vendor has not emerged
Scott Raynovich
Where is HP OpenView for #SDN !?
Tate Cantrell
totally agreed. there is definitely a need for the uber of SDN - @cisco = taxis - SDN = @uber
Tate Cantrell
better stated --> definitely a need for the uber of SDN - @cisco = taxis - #whitebox = @uber
Pica8 Inc.
@tate8tech exectly! And let's re distribute the wealth to the system integrators, or customers that do the integration themselves. This is about progressive tax - not regressive tax :)
Tate Cantrell
hey @rayno can we move @newcoit question on the single management interface and vision up to the top in a future question?
Scott Raynovich
Next #whitebox myth: You have to be a #webscale player. Or can you convince me to install one in my house ;-)
Pica8 Inc.
we get this question all the time - we mom and pop shops, we see small ISPs and hosting shops. If you want to save $$ and leverage traditional CLI, you can use a #whitebox today and the only risk you take, it trying it.
Scott Raynovich
Love the idea of a small ISP using this stuff. Do you have any examples you can cite?
dana blouin
@pica8 I should put aside some time and set one up in my lab to play with.
afewell
once again I think its true that its not easy for anyone to go directly to Quanta, but thats where vendors like @pica8 & @Dell fill the gap, everyone wants cloud-like efficiency, we offer a way to use the same type of gear at comparable price
Steven Noble
You can pick up an Quanta box easily, but it comes with the standard @broadcom FastPath, which is a nightmare to configure
Craig Matsumoto
Agree with @afewell ... Dell could do a lot toward mainstream adoption of white boxes.
Pica8 Inc.
for those of you who like to google, type in Quanta LB9 into Amazon -- you can see multiple options to buy
Calvin Chai
procurement is the easy part, the bigger hurdles that we see most customers have are 1) integration with the s/w and 2) support model
afewell
the other big thing is that software like #ONL and Cumulus changes the game, buying ODM hardware used to mean ODM software which lacked features and QA, but independent software changes this entirely
Pica8 Inc.
@afewell indeed #ONL is key. All the @OCP initiatives take us to a true plug and play model.
Scott Raynovich
Another Myth: Hardware performance. Are #whiteboxes inferior to proprietary solutions or can they beat them?
Tate Cantrell
answer with security in mind. if a #whitebox can fall over it becomes a security threat.
dana blouin
That is a difficult one, I would say it would be more difficult to reach the same level of performance with general hardware.
Pica8 Inc.
this is a good question and since even Cisco uses Broadcom's ASICs in Top of Rack switches, there is consensus that merchant Silicon provides good value and performance.
afewell
simple answer, regardless of what anyone does today, the simple fact is that the trident silicon revolutionized the industry and proved that without the open center, chipset innovation was stalled
Scott Raynovich
I would argue that if you could remove some proprietary spaghetti code you could get a #whitebox to runner cleaner and faster
Pica8 Inc.
@danablouin not sure why you think that, from a pure hardware standard, no customer we have worked with has ever questions line rate performance, they know it performs because they know the Silicon is already in their legacy systems
afewell
I agree Scott, soon I expect to see something like CoreOS for network switches, I think it makes sense and ONIE has already been looking at stuff that does similar things
Scott Raynovich
@tate8tech the next security architecture should be in the cloud, the #whiteboxes will be protected by the cloud applications
Calvin Chai
differentiation for features (HA, others), can definitely come from software
dana blouin
@pica8 I am thinking that hardware specific to routing a switching is made for that, more general purpose computing hardware might not be up to more intense tasks.
Scott Raynovich
That's right it's all in the software.
Steven Noble
@afewell that is the focus of #ONL which I believe @Pica8 is starting to use as a base OS
afewell
@danablouin with things like DPDK software like Vyatta has been tested to run on a Dell server with line rate @240Gbps throughput, there will definitely be use for special hardware, but when and where to use special hardware is evolving
Craig Matsumoto
Security + cloud is a good point, Scott. cf. Illumio: the infrastrutcure no longer factors into the security question. As we rethink security, the security of a white box could be a non-issue.
Scott Raynovich
yes exactly. You see I could have started Illumio and gotten $100M
afewell
@sonoble exactly right, #ONL is great software, very lightweight and clearly the more unnecessary stuff we can pull out of the NOS and put to its proper place the better performance will be
Pica8 Inc.
agreed @craigmatsumoto this is a supply chain and on boarding shift, the OS once bonded to the bare metal, acts just like any other switch. So we do not think security is a question, and neither do our 400+ customers
Scott Raynovich
But on a serious note, the bad guys are in "out there" in the cloud, so the security needs to be "out there"
Calvin Chai
@sonoble right on re: #ONL - porting to this and will be GA soon
Pica8 Inc.
security is always an issue and concern, having said that, re #whiteboxes and bare-metal switches, this is not a threat or concern
afewell
@craigmatsumoto btw +1 on Illumio, I am really fond of their approach, I think that model could do a lot to alleviate many security concerns including those with #whitebox
Scott Raynovich
Agreed. And to @craigmatsumoto 's point, the security applications will be disaggregated from the hardware anyway
Scott Raynovich
The @raynoreport is coming out with a comprehensive #cloudsecurity report in one month. 35 companies.
Scott Raynovich
And BTW, I think there are many other interesting players in addition to Illumio
Scott Raynovich
Too bad @ajcochenour is not here today...