A few months ago Gigamon did the right thing: they figured out that their true value lies not in the hardware boxes, but in the software running on them, and decided to start offering their GigaVUE-OS on whitebox switches.
So far, Arista is the only other networking vendor that figured out it doesn't make sense to resist the tide - Arista EOS is now available on Open Compute Networking whitebox switches.
Update 2015-04-02: If you followed the links in this blog post, you probably figured out that it’s an April Fools’ one. However, that’s not the end of the story… a few hours after I published the made-up story, I started getting polite inquiries along the lines of “is this an April Fools’ joke or did you mix up the links, because some of them don’t seem real?” To set the record straight: the story was a hoax, but almost too close to the truth. Arista announced EOS-as-a-subscription – not exactly what I wrote, but definitely a major step in an interesting direction. Finally, here’s the best part: I wrote the blog post a few days before April 1st, pushed it in the to-publish queue and forgot about it… and Arista almost made it true in the meantime. Anyway, make sure you follow all the links in the following text ;)
Arista always used merchant silicon in their switches to keep their hardware development costs under control, and developed a network operating system with numerous highly creative features to entice forward-looking users away from traditional networking vendors. Making Arista EOS available on third-party whitebox switches is the obvious next step. Even better, you'll get the full-blown EOS, not some cloud-optimized version of it.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Arista’s competitors plan to do the same. HP is looking at becoming a system integrator (and there are funky things going on with their H3C subsidiary that is developing their advanced networking gear), and Cisco firmly remains an in-house-hardware company.
For the record, here’s one of my worst predictions: four years ago I thought we’d see NX-OS as a controller for OpenFlow switches (which would be a natural next step after Nexus 1000V). Couldn’t be more wrong.