Legacy networking vendors generally take proprietary operation software and tightly couple it with their own hardware. These legacy vendors claim this set-up gives customer the best performance and ensures their networking works as expected – software is created to run perfectly on their hardware, or so has been the status quo for many years.
Within the Open Compute networking chapter, such claims are being challenged and disputed. More and more companies realize that hardware in the networking space is becoming less and less differentiated today Customers are often looking at what hyperscalers such as Facebook and Microsoft are doing, emulating their approach in delivering complex applications on simple and commodity infrastructure (often produced by the same manufacturers these legacy vendors use). Nowadays it is all about being able to deploy and migrate workloads that match storage and compute and it to allow for fast and flexible workload orchestration.
The move to a disaggregated networking model with use of white box switches that run on open source networking software can be hugely beneficial. A disaggregated model often comes at a fraction of the cost of the legacy approach, and creates a enormous amount of flexibility in regards to choice of hardware platform and networking operating software. Stuck to proprietary and often pricey optical plug-ins or cables? With open networking that limitation is lifted which provides choice and lower costs significantly.
The Software Defined networking agenda that currently is dominating the market has brought life to products from legacy vendors that are their answers to SDN, often providing a hardware-centric approach to data center network programmability- delivering highly scalable leaf-spine architectures creating an overlay for the tenant space: the network used by the business applications, departments and customers. The catch? Using these products usual limits customers to buy specific these vendor hardware platforms creating undesired vendor lock-in situations that come at a high price.
Open Networking does not have such vendor lock-in limitations. In fact migrating from individually managed switches to an Ethernet fabric solution reduces operational costs and improves service levels if your data center can be done in a very cost effective way using Dev Op tools available in the market today. It certainly does not limit customers to be stuck with a vendor specific SDN overlay network.