Startup Arrcus claims to have scored an industry first by bringing its white box switch operating system to multiple 400GbE and high-density 100GbE switches -- effectively introducing the first 400G white box switches, to compete with similarly speedy proprietary products from Arista and Cisco.
The switches are designed for service providers and enterprises building platforms on a hypercloud scale for 5G, video, mobile, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other next-generation workloads.
The software, ArcOS, runs on StrataXGS Trident 3 and StrataDNX Jericho based hardware, as well as Broadcom StrataXGS Tomahawk 3 silicon, with platforms from multiple vendors. (See Data Center Switching Enters the 400G Era.)
"The product we have built is the industry's first Internet-scale independent operating system," Devesh Garg, Arrcus founder and CEO, tells Light Reading. (See Startup Arrcus Wants White-Hot White Boxes.)
Arista Networks Inc. scored a first with 400G switches in October, based on its own hardware and operating system on custom silicon. And Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) unveiled its own 400G switch soon afterward. (See Arista Promises New 400G Switches for These Cloudy Times.)
While network operators deploying the switches will, obviously, be dependent on Arrcus for software, they'll be hardware independent, and support network management software from multiple vendors due to ArcOS's support for standards such as OpenConfig, YANG, Chef, Puppet, Ansible and OpenDaylight.
White box switches were first introduced more than five years ago, and hailed as replacements for proprietary networking hardware -- the way the X86 hardware replaced mainframes and minicomputers in the data center. Fast-forward to today and in reality, proprietary switches have remained dominant in networks.
But white box switches haven't gone away, says Lee Doyle, principal analyst with Doyle Research. "White box switches have a lot of relevance if you have the expertise and scale to implement them," Doyle says. White boxes are seen in hyperscale providers, greenfield software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, and in very early deployments in the enterprise, telcos and service providers.
— Mitch Wagner Executive Editor, Light Reading