Why It’s Time to Make the Move to White Box Switches

Why it's time to make the move to white box switches

Bandwidth needs are growing exponentially, and the modern network needs to be dynamic and flexible enough to accommodate and adapt. As many data centers and forward-thinking companies have discovered, open network (white box) switches can be an integral part of building your network for the future. Here are three key areas in which you’ll benefit from unchaining your network.

The Power of Choice

The core principle behind the entire open networking philosophy is choice.

In the past, once you chose your switch vendor, you were stuck. You could only run your vendor’s proprietary operating system on your hardware, and therefore only had access to the features that your vendor wanted you to have. You would receive mandatory system updates only on your vendor’s schedule.

When it comes to open networking, you are in full control of how your network operates. You can pair the bare-metal switch with whatever software best fits your applications and internal expertise. If you’re a shop of Linux experts, our partners at Cumulus Networks and Pica8 have entirely Linux-based solutions. If you’re a little nervous about leaving Cisco, OcNOS from IP Infusion has a similar look and feel to Cisco’s OS, and even shares some of the same commands.

Scale Up Smoothly

Network expansion has always been a daunting task for network administrators. In a large network, manually turning up each new switch is a time- and labor-intensive process that can open the door for costly human error. However, open networking switch solutions can make this much easier.

Many software systems designed for open network switches support software-defined networking (SDN). Network administrators using SDN no longer have to configure each switch manually; through an SDN controller, they can automate the provisioning of new services. For service providers, in particular, automated provisioning can reduce both operational expenses on a new service (by up to 40%, in some cases) and speed up the time before a new service generates revenue by a month! Once the switches are up and running, switch management and troubleshooting can be automated as well through customizable APIs.

Cost Considerations

As one observer noted, when you pay a steep price for a traditional proprietary switch, you’re mostly paying for the logo and the label. From a hardware perspective, the internal components of white box switches can match (and often exceed) the performance specs of their traditional proprietary counterparts at a much lower price point.

This cost advantage extends to optical transceivers as well, especially at higher data rates. When purchasing a proprietary 100G switch and enough optics to populate all its ports, those proprietary optics can equal or exceed the cost of the switch itself! However, with a comparable open network switch and open standards-based optics to fill the ports, it has never been more affordable to upgrade to 100G

Ready to make the switch? Champion ONE is here to help. Contact us today.

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