When networking equipment is purchased, it’s packaged as a single sourced, vertically integrated stack. In contrast, in the commodity server world, starting at the most basic component, CPUs are multi-sourced. We can get CPUs from AMD and Intel. Compatible servers built from either Intel or AMD CPUs are available from HP, Dell, IBM, SGI, ZT Systems, Silicon Mechanics, and many others. Any of these servers can support both proprietary and open source operating systems. The commodity server world is open and multi-sourced at every layer in the stack.
Open, multi-layer hardware and software stacks encourage innovation and rapidly drive down costs. The server world is clear evidence of what is possible when such an ecosystem emerges.