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Happy Birthday Brite-Box

by Andrew Lerner  |  January 12, 2016  |  2 Comments

It’s been 2 years since Dell announced integration with Cumulus to support running Cumulus’ network switching OS on their (Dell) hardware. We first published on the concept of disaggregated switching back in 2013, but the Dell/Cumulus announcement was the initial commercial ‘brite-box’ solution from a well-known player. Since then, additional mainstream vendors have followed suit including Juniper and HP. So after two years, let’s do a quick check-in…

  • The Eco-system has expanded well beyond just Dell/Cumulus to over a dozen players, including HP, Juniper, Big Switch, Pica8, Pluribus, IP Infusion, Quanta, Accton, Alpha and others.

Note: The fun isn’t over with yet, as we anticipate additional established vendors to go brite-box within the next 12-24 months as well. 

  • Brite-boxes are (and will continue to be) embedded into mainstream integrated systems and hyperconverged offerings. For example, EVO:SDDC includes Cumulus software on Quanta switching hardware.
  • However, the mainstream network vendors do not yet lead with brite-box as their flagship offerings (well, at least not yet….).  Instead, they target these solutions at specific use-cases.
  • We would crudely estimate there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 500-1000 paying brite-box customers (note: we are actively researching this, so will sharpen this estimate soon).

So overall, it is early days and most existing brite-box customers are operators of large networks and/or DevOps minded organizations. This is re-iterated via a recent survey from our Data Center conference, indicating that interest in deploying is mild (note the small and selective sample size).

My Company Plans to deploy Brite-Box Switching

However, this is a dynamic situation, and we think it will change quickly once more vendors enter the space, and/or when existing vendors make brite-box their flagship offering.

Regards, Andrew

Related Research: Is Brite-Box Switching Right for Your Network?


Summary: Network decision makers can reduce costs and improve management by using branded white-box switches (“brite box”) in their data centers. However, this approach is not a universal fit. We identify five usage scenarios (including a real-world case study) where it is best suited.



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Category: devops  networking  

Tags: accton  alpha  big-switch  brite-box  cumulus  dell  hp  ip-infusion  juniper  pica8  pluribus-networks  quanta  vmware  

Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
6+ years at Gartner
21 years IT Industry

Andrew Lerner is a Vice President in Gartner Research. He covers enterprise networking, including data center, campus and WAN with a focus on emerging technologies (SDN, SD-WAN, and Intent-based networking). Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Happy Birthday Brite-Box

  1. I see the chart above as a real ‘glass half full’ kind of situation. That 1/2 of your sample are evaluating this kind of solution a mere 2 years after it appeared in-market is a big deal!

  2. Thanks Andrew.
    some of these big cloud organizations/ providers considering their own whitebox, their own switch OS by forking from opensource projects such as ONL.

    Cumulus is one of the cleanest , easy to deploy NOS for whiteboxes.

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