HP Embracing Whitebrand Ethernet
HP is now offering a whitebox Ethernet product range to its customers in a recent announcements. Whether you call this britebox, whitebrand, bare metal or branded whitebox, the final outcome is the same. HP is offering customers another choice to buy the network products that meets their requirements.
Points to Note
- Named “HP Open Network” switches and it is portfolio of products, not just one switch. A complete and ongoing product strategy (at this time).
- Today you can buy Cumulus Linux for the switch and get combined support from Cumulus and HP.
- The plan has been in the making at HP for some time.
- Intended for “cloud scale data centres”. I read this to mean as a complement “HP Helion” and offer an end-to-end data centre capability where the network services will be derived from Helion distribution of OpenStack as virtual appliances through an overlay.
- Customers can choose to buy traditional switches with lots of complex features or choose to buy whitebox switches according to their needs. There is a market for both options.
- The switch hardware design is a standard OpenCompute platform using Broadcom Trident silicon.
- HP is branding products from Accton who are a large-scale IT manufacturing company. They manufacture a wide range of products for HP and other companies today.
- Comes with global support and maintenance from HP Technology Services. Which means you don’t have to that yourself.
- Customers have a choice to buy HP Comware OS and HP-designed products which have a much larger choice of features and functions than Whitebrand/Cumulus has today (or foreseeable future).
- Cumulus Linux allows customers to use their own DevOps tools like Puppet, Chef etc. Its an important buying decision since many companies don’t want to write their own software for vendor-specific/proprietary APIs. Fancy policy-based networking (such as Congress or Cisco APIC/ACI) is still months or, more likely, years from any practical usage.
- Juniper has already announced the OCX1100 which is Whitebrand switch too.
- I’ve heard but cannot confirm Cisco announced that Nexus 9000 will support ONIE suggesting third party OS could be possible (but highly unlikely).
- I would guess that HP could/might/should and probably will release a version of Comware for whitebox switches.
The EtherealMind View
- Whitebox continues to expand as a segment of market for Ethernet switches.
- Low-tech enterprise customers will continue to choose capital intensive products that run Comware and have a large number of features for every possible need from HP Switching portfolio. For example, TRILL, FCOE, QoS, etc.
- High-tech enterprise customer are likely to buy this product when building a Helion cloud inside their existing data centres to complement an existing HP hardware strategy based on low-capital products for servers, distributed IP storage, racks, physical containers and so on.
- HP is meeting customer demand and not forcing customers to go in a specific direction like Juniper and Cisco products. That is, HP is big enough to support a lot of different options.
- HP has comparatively less to lose than Cisco or Juniper would on this strategy.