White Boxes and Cultural Lock-in

There’s an interesting exchange going back and forth about the role of white box networking for the enterprise. Gian Paolo Boarina maintains that the hyperscalers of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google have vastly different requirements than the typical enterprise. These FANG companies need “dumb boxes and smart people”, while the enterprise is motivated for the inverse. For Gian Paolo, this movement of intelligence from an organization to a vendor is an inevitable, if undesirable, result of enterprise cost-cutting.

In Nicola Arnoldi response to this post, he sees this as not just enterprise cost-cutting, but an attempt by the large networking vendors to replace legacy vertical lock-in with a more cultural one. He doesn’t disagree wholely with Gian Paolo, but instead thinks the vendor response to white box networking has more complexity than a simple economic incentive.

Make sure to check out both posts. It’s an interesting analysis on why we see both a boom in both the NOS space and capability, which at the same time a drive to move greater intelligence into licensed network equipment.

Nicola Arnoldi comments:

Read more at: White-boxes for everyone: my point of view.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.