Generic Whitebox Switch

Whitebox Network Operating Systems**

Open Accepted

WhiteBox switching providers definition: these are providers of either an entire OS or an application that help to provide functionality to multiple types of switching hardware. This does mean that all software on these systems are open-source or ‘Free as in speech or beer.’

These machines, while not entirely open, are a great step towards making computing more open. The reason for this is that the OS is now being separated from the switch, so you’re not locked into a specific switch if you want a specific network OS.

whitebox switch
The whitebox is here!

Whitebox Switching Providers Application based:

  1. Stratum is an open source, silicon-independent switch operating system for software-defined networks
  2. Open vSwitch is a production quality, multilayer virtual switch licensed under the open source Apache 2.0 license.  Open vSwitch is designed to enable massive network automation through programmatic extension, while still supporting standard management interfaces and protocols (e.g. NetFlow, sFlow, IPFIX, RSPAN, CLI, LACP, 802.1ag).
  3. Facebook is part of the Open Compute Project and uses FBOSS and Wedge. The code on this has been released for public consumption. There are regular updates to FBOSS. Facebook has been a big contributor to the open source community however running FBOSS is not for the faint of heart!

Whitebox Switching Providers OS based:

  1. Cumulus Networks is leading the transformation of bringing web-scale networking to organizations of all sizes. Our comprehensive product portfolio provides you with all the tools you need to affordably build and efficiently operate your network like the world’s largest data centers. Our customers can run their data center networks the way Google and Facebook have done for years — highly automated, flexible and efficient, without all the development time or expensive, specialized hardware.
  2. Big Switch Networks Big Cloud Fabric™ is the industry’s first data center fabric built using SDN controller software and open networking (white-box or brite-box) hardware switches. Embracing hyper-scale data center design principles, the Big Cloud Fabric solution delivers:
  3. Open Network Linux is a Linux distribution for open hardware switches, i.e. network forwarding devices built from commodity components. ONL uses ONIE to install onto on-board flash memory.
    Open Network Linux is a part of the Open Compute Project and is a component in a growing collection of open source and commercial projects including CORD and Stratum.
  4. Pica8 based this platform on the very stable Debian distribution to eliminate the instabilities that plague other open-source Linux offerings. With its flagship PICOS™ NOS, Pica8 now powers a wide variety of 1G-to-100G white-box and britebox switches.
  5. The OpenSwitch platform is an open source, Linux-based network operating system (NOS) for disaggregated switches built around OCP-compliant hardware, utilizing an open network installation environment (ONIE) boot loader.
open compute project logo
Open Compute Project

Exiting time to be in networking!

What an exiting to time to be in Networking. We’re seeing a fundamental change in Networking Applications. We’re transitioning from the giant providers and moving to smaller Whitebox Switching Providers. Thanks to Open Compute Project, we’re seeing a lot more development and general open-source vibes coming from the community. We are on the verge of a complete overhaul of networking. This is very similar to what we had with computer and server manufacturing 20 years ago.

** I will try to keep this list of Whitebox Switching Providers up to date. If there are any missed providers feel free to submit them in the comments below.


As always if you know of something that I’ve left out or if you have any suggestions drop me a comment and I will modify this post as to help the next person that stumbles across this blog.

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