Cisco’s white box software should extend into the cloud

The very software technology that’s threatening the incumbents is also providing a solution that may ensure their survival.

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The recent reports that Cisco will package its software as an operating system point to how software is helping evolve legacy network infrastructure.

According to unconfirmed reports from The Information and others, Cisco is planning on separating out the software that is currently bundled with its networking devices. The software will be packaged as a standalone operating system, codenamed “Lindt,” capable of running on general purpose processors and white-boxed servers instead of Cisco’s purpose-built silicon and proprietary hardware.

In the near term, the move appears to be Cisco’s answer to software-only routing and switching competitors, and the days when switching and routing necessarily meant “Cisco,” are likely numbered.

“Cisco’s switching share has declined from around 70% in 2010 to the mid-50s today as Arista and white box alternatives have won share in the data center,” said James Crawshaw, a senior analyst with

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