White Box Networking
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White Box Networking

EtherealMinds Design Document Series

About the Book

The Data Networking Market has been significantly changed in 2013 by the market process of commoditisation. This report looks at key aspects of commoditisation in the form of Whitebox products and how they will change your network in the year ahead. 

The report starts with a short review of commoditisation in industrial & economic terms. Commoditisation is normal for maturing markets and widespread across IT Infrastructure markets sych as software tools and server hardware. Understanding the market fundamentals will help to measure the impact of commoditised network products on your infrastructure strategy and operations.

Then we cover key product components that make up a typical network device. Identifying the components that make up a commodity product leads to insights in the final products and how they will perform. Consider that a desktop computer is purchased by the type of CPU, memory and storage. In the near future, networking equipment will be purchased according to the Fabric Processor, NPU and SOC chips. I'll explain these concepts and introduce many of the elements. 

In the final section  we look at the impact this transition will have on the engineer in the field. What changes are happening to products, why thye impact a certain market category and how you can understand the transition from low volume, custom-built products to standardised and mass market products. 


At this stage, the book is about 60% complete. The outline is done and most of the diagrams & research is complete. There is 20% more writing to fill in some of the more complex topics and 20% to tidy up the editing and content flow. You can purchase this Design Document at a lower price today and will receive the updates as I publish them. I expect to complete the book to around 10000 words (currently 9000 words) by the end of April. 

I will continue to update and extend the coverage as the market evolves. I am planning to publish updates on a bi-monthly basis with new information, lessons and experiences learned from observing the market. I expect  that the book will reach it's final state around the end of 2014. 

About the Author


Greg Ferro is a well known writer, blogger and podcaster on Data Networking. He has 25 years experience as a network engineer and architect in Oceania, Asia and Europe. His Etherealmind.com blog is well known for wide ranging content on networking but even more widely known as the co-host of the Packet Pushers Podcast. 

Greg has been an analyst for a number of companies and continues to provide consulting and engineer to customers today. His perspective is founded in the realities of the real world and the book reflects this. 

Table of Contents

  • 1 Excerpt
    • 1.1 Takeaways
    • 1.2 Why read this Report ?
    • 1.3 About the Author
    • 1.4 About Lean Publishing and Book Updates
    • 1.5 Book Updates
    • 1.6 Version Information
    • 1.7 Language
    • 1.8 Reprints or Other Uses
  • 2 About the Design Documents Series
  • 3 Overview of COTS and Whitebox
  • 4 Commodity Markets
  • 5 What is Commoditisation
    • 5.1 Process Cycle of Commoditisation
    • 5.2 Case Study - Smartphones
    • 5.3 Factory Costs and Investment
    • 5.4 Silicon Economics
    • 5.5 Improving Production
    • 5.6 Data Networking Silicon
    • 5.7 Disruption From Silicon Designers
    • 5.8 Wealth Transfer, Pricing and Value
    • 5.9 Vendor Maintenance & Support
    • 5.10 Protocol Commoditisation
    • 5.11 The Commoditisation Dilemma
  • 6 Network Commodities
    • 6.1 Takeaway
    • 6.2 Internal Architecture
    • 6.3 Top Of Rack Switch Layout
    • 6.4 Components

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