A Question to Forrester about the White Box Myth

I sent this email to Forrester earlier and will be awaiting their reply.

Update: Forrester replied almost immediately, forwarded to their data team.

Update 2: The Data team does not believe the data came from them and Andre Kindness has stated that the information came from him.

Update 3: From twitter discussions, Andre has stated that he used a non-supported (no smartnet), no frills Nexus, which would be 14k street.

Screenshot 2015-03-17 12.00.26

The Cumulus software he used includes 24×7 support and a L3 forwarding license, which means the same would need to be included in he Nexus configuration to be a correct comparison.

Update 4:

Forrester has supplied a copy of the report and I have done some analysis.  I have supplied my feedback and will continue to work with Forrester to hopefully clarify the costs shown in the report.

Original Letter:


I have been going over the numbers that Jim Duffy published from Andre Kindness’ report “The Myth of Whitebox Switches” https://www.forrester.com/The+Myth+Of+WhiteBox+Network+Switches/fulltext/-/E-RES118267 and I am unable to determine the source of the numbers.

I asked Andre and Forrester about this on twitter and Andre said “I’m not sure what u are saying. If u read the report all the numbers are publically available. I’m assuming white box report.”

I am unable to find the publicly available numbers that Andre points out exist, all I can find is the purchasable report, which is not public.

Can you provide me with the cost basis that Andre uses for the following slide http://images.techhive.com/images/article/2015/02/white-box-chart-100570427-large.idge.jpg as used by Jim Duffy in his article about disaggregation in the networking space http://www.networkworld.com/article/2890335/data-center/will-network-disaggregation-play-in-the-enterprise.html


In the slide Andre puts together the numbers for a 6.6 year cost of ownership for the Accton 5712 and the Cisco Nexus 3172PQ and the numbers come out within 1k of each other, $13,339 for the Accton/Cumulus and $14,198 for the Cisco Nexus.

Where does Andre get the pricing for the Nexus?  Even using government pricing, a heavily discounted Nexus 3172pq is still $11,760 and the cost of SmartNet service is about 1k a year.  That would bring the numbers to ~17k not including taxes, duties, etc.

For the Accton AS5712, his numbers are closer, the public non-discounted hardware being $6570 and software being $2849 (3 year) or 4,499 (5 year) but not anywhere near the costs of the Cisco.

I plan to put all of this data out publicly, for no cost, and use it when training end users at public events (again for no cost). I will publish first on sonn.com (my personal blog) and once I can assemble everything with confidence, I will put the breakdown on RouterAnalysis.com where we do completely open testing of network devices for the public good.

Thank you for your time

Steven Noble

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