Understanding White Box Networking

Rob Sherwood

Instructor: Rob Sherwood, Big Switch Networks


Bare Metal Networking means that networking hardware and software can be purchased from independent vendors much like how servers and operating systems are sold today.  In this talk, I’ll snapshot this rapidly evolving trend in terms how the history and the evolving players.  I will make sure to tackle the thorny problems like who handles support calls — the software or hardware vendor — and how this changes the purchasing process.  I’ll then conclude with pointers to easy evaluation next steps with open source projects in the bare metal networking space and some future looking claims for how bare metal networking will affect more than the networking industry’s CapEx spend.


  • Bare Metal Networking: Buying Switches Like Servers
  • History and Ecosystem
  • Hardware Vendors
  • Software Vendors
  • Support and Purchasing Models
  • Open Source Projects: Open Compute ONIE, Open Network Linux
  • Future Implications

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