White boxes are now ready for prime time
White box switches have been around for years, but adoption has been limited to niche companies that have large engineering departments. The rise of software-defined networking ( #SDN ) has brought them into the public eye, though, as a lower-cost alternative to traditional network hardware. In fact, some of the early messaging around SDN revolved around using white boxes as a complete replacement for all network hardware. Despite the promise that SDN brought, the use of white boxes has been limited for a couple of reasons. The first is that historically, any organization that wanted to leverage a white box switch needed to have a number of technical specialists that many enterprises do not have. This would include network programmers and engineers fluent in #Linux. These skills are commonly found in companies such as #Facebook, #Google and #Amazon, but not so much in your average enterprise.