Wednesday, July 7, 2021

White boxes in the enterprise: Why it’s not crazy

If you’re an enterprise CIO, CFO, or network operations type, you’ve probably been reading about how this service provider or that cloud provider have saved up to 50% on network equipment by using generic “white-box” technology instead of proprietary routers and switches.  It’s hard not to wonder whether your own network budget could buy twice as much gear, and what projects might now meet their business case.  Could enterprises get in on the white-box revolution?  Maybe, if they can address the issues that even service providers and cloud providers have already faced, and in some cases been bitten by.

Compatibility

The first issue is finding the hardware and software. White-box hardware needs software, either an all-inclusive “network operating system” that provides all the features you need, or an operating system plus a separate routing/switching package. The software can’t just be shoveled onto something and run; it has to match the hardware.  In some cases, the matching process is facilitated through the same sort of drivers found on PCs and servers, but not all hardware has a driver suitable for all software.  Pick a white box and you may not find software you like for it. Pick software you like, and no white box you like may fully support it. This is why self-integration of white-box hardware and software is something enterprises should avoid at all costs.

To read this article in full, please click here


Thanks to Tom Nolle (see source)

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