Facebook (yes, Facebook) challenges Cisco with open-source switch

Facebook's has produced a new top-of-rack data center switch (called Wedge) and switch OS (called FBOSS) meant to run on a cheap micro server board that can easily be swapped out.

GigaOm observes Facebook doesn't simply want cheaper hardware, but is also looking to "eliminate the network engineer and run its networking operations in the same easily swapped out and dynamic fashion as their servers."

Facebook stresses Wedge/FBOSS' modularity - "You could use an ARM-based microserver rather than the Intel-based microserver we've selected. Or you could take the electronics and repackage them in a new enclosure..." - and says the design will be submitted to its Open Compute initiative, thus allowing OEMs to begin using it.

Wedge/FBOSS are aimed squarely at Cisco (CSCO), which dominates the data center switch market (71% estimated share) with its proprietary gear. Rivals such as newly-public Arista Networks (ANET) are also in its crosshairs.

John Chambers has already called white-label hardware - beloved not only by Facebook, but also Amazon and Google - Cisco's biggest long-term threat. Facebook's move comes shortly after JPMorgan noted sales of white-box switches rose 18.6% Y/Y in Q1, and made up 9.3% of 10-gig port shipments.

Last year: Facebook working on new networking fabric

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Comments (6)
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (11388) | Send Message
    Cisco to Facebook:


    18 Jun 2014, 08:21 PM Reply Like
  • James Sands
    , contributor
    Comments (2753) | Send Message
    Arista Networks to Cisco:




    In 9 days the company has doubled Cisco's YTD performance......
    18 Jun 2014, 09:05 PM Reply Like
  • superuser
    , contributor
    Comments (44) | Send Message
    Google has made pennies on Hardware, Facebook has made pennies on the HTC phone he released, this is a joke. Not to be taken seriously. Networking Business is bit different then Search business or People Search business. You make money on selling hardware not clicks. Not sure what facebook is trying to accomplish with this. Oh yeah Amazon is doing something similar. Total loss.
    18 Jun 2014, 10:08 PM Reply Like
  • Eric Jhonsa
    , contributor
    Comments (1276) | Send Message
    Facebook isn't looking to build the switch for anything besides internal use. But they plan to open-source the design, so that switch OEMs can use it (and modify it if they want). That's the competitive threat to Cisco and other vendors with proprietary designs.
    18 Jun 2014, 11:17 PM Reply Like
  • Glenway Fripp
    , contributor
    Comments (1627) | Send Message
    Facebook, yet again, heralds the message that it is not a one trick pony. That is enough. No money need be made. No threat to Cisco need be in the cards. This little switch demonstrates FB's technical versatility. It is much more of a threat to other social network companies like Linkedin and Twitter who are, in fact, one trick ponies. If social network stocks are in a bubble, they are in that much less of a bubble for FB.
    19 Jun 2014, 12:24 PM Reply Like
  • bmadhava
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    FB used to be one of the major accounts for CSCO. If FB and other such major accounts start making their own DC switches or start moving towards NFV solutions(buying s/w and running it on Intel h/w), its going to badly hurt CSCO's sales surely.
    19 Jun 2014, 12:43 PM Reply Like
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