Whitebox Switching and Fermi Estimates
Craig Matsumoto recently quoted some astonishing claims from Dell’Oro Group analyst Alan Weckel:
- Whitebox switches (combined) will be the second largest ToR vendor;
- Whitebox 10GE ports will cost around $100.
Let’s try to guestimate how realistic these claims are.
According to the same source, “whitebox switching comes down to just two customers: Amazon and Google”. Each of them has approximately a million servers. Assuming 50% year-over-year growth rate (which has never been sustained for long periods), both companies have to buy around a million new servers (and switch ports) every year.
The total value of those switch ports (according to Craig’s source) would be $100M. Let’s round this up (you need uplinks, spine switches …) to $200M.
The current size of data center networking market is $12B, and Ethernet switches represent at least $8B out of that total, with fixed switches being two thirds of that (around 5B). The $200M guestimate from the previous paragraph would represent 4% of the market share. I hope the second ToR vendor has more than that, or we’re really dealing with Cisco and seven dwarflings.
Conclusion: the whitebox switching claims were exaggerated unless the analysts considered 10GE-only ToR switches, in which case they might be about right (but that’s not what the article said).