I’m hopeful of this white box approach to networking but cautiously optimistic. It would be great to put opensource software of openswitch like software on white box devices. While not SDN or Openflow directly it does give a great deal more capability to SDN type implementations. As the interface into the hardware layer is open and standard.
My reservation is the ability to innovate at the hardware layer at the same pace you can now with proprietary operating systems. Who’s going to invest in make a white box fabric that will compete with Cisco, Juniper and Arista? Top of the rack is a start but ultimately we’d like to see this in the core as well. I have a difficult time seeing open compete at the entire data center fabric level. I’m hopeful however that it will.
The Open Compute Project, which Facebook launched a little more than two years ago, has decided that utterly disrupting the server and storage market isn’t enough. On Wednesday, it said it would solicit input on an open source top-of-rack switch.
The project, in a presentation by Frank Frankovsy at Interop, said it was taking a slightly different tack with its design, deciding to get input from others before actually making and releasing the hardware to the community. However, just because the hardware isn’t designed yet, Facebook isn’t going to twiddle its thumbs for a traditional multi-year design cycle. Frankovsky told me in an interview that he expects the hardware to b out in 9 to 12 months.
“We have built these islands of openness in the data center but the last element, and the one that was connecting the compute and storage, was the network,” said Frankovsky. “And there is…
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