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SDN meets white box switching

This week, bloggers explore SDN and white box switching, cybersecurity as a business issue and upgrading vSphere environments.

In a recent webinar and blog post, Ivan Pepelnjak of ipSpace explored the subject of SDN and white box switching. According to many, SDN itself is an example of white box switching as software runs on third-party, inexpensive hardware. Pepelnjak identifies white box switching somewhat differently, as a process that involves running a third-party network operating system on generic hardware.

In some cases, he adds, some network administrators and buyers seek a different form of white box switching through brite box switching, which he says relies on the same strategy, except on brand-name hardware from large vendors such as Dell or HPE. "If you're big enough that it makes sense to develop your own stuff, you may be willing to deal with [options from] East Asia," Pepelnjak said. However, for many smalls companies, choosing generic options from East Asian producers may not be the best bet. Instead, Pepelnjak recommends using vendor-supplied operating systems from groups such as Cumulus Networks and Big Switch Networks, open source Linux options.

Explore more of Pepelnjak's thoughts on white box switching.  

Cybersecurity as a business issue

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with ESG, recently delved into cybersecurity as a business issue. In new studies of IT professionals, 43% of respondents said that "increasing cybersecurity" was driving IT spending, outranking other leading categories such as improving business analytics, reducing costs and ensuring compliance. In 2016, 69% of organizations are boosting their spending on cybersecurity.

Oltsik reminds IT leaders that CISOs especially will now need to present more business metrics on cybersecurity, to demonstrate return on investment, continuous improvement and cost containment. This may thrust many professionals specialized in firewalls as CISSP certifications into an unfamiliar business analytics role. Fortunately, organizations are hedging against risk in new areas, with a 35% increase in cybersecurity insurance since last year.

Read more of Oltsik's thoughts on cybersecurity.

Upgrading your vSphere environment

According to Network Inferno blogger, Anthony Burke, a new version of VMware's vSphere, vSphere 6.0 U2, was recently released. Among administrators, the update is being hailed as a useful step, adding vSphere Host Web Client, Burke said.

Burke downloaded the new update and walks new users through how to setup the software. When administrators implement the new version, he recommends setting up virtual machines in cluster, installing a host patch from a defined data store location, and setting all hosts into maintenance mode. Before finishing he adds that users should reconnect hosts out of maintenance mode and relaunch VMs on hosts within clusters.

Read more of Burke's thoughts on the vSphere update.

Next Steps

Approaches to white box switching

Increasing dynamism in cybersecurity

Planning a vSphere upgrade strategy

Dig Deeper on Software-defined networking