It\u2019s hard to remember a time when people thought Amazon was nuts for going into the cloud computing business, since it was so far removed from the company\u2019s core ecommerce business. No one is laughing now.\nIt seems history could repeat itself. According to an article in The Information, Amazon is rumored to be targeting a new industry, albeit one dominated by a giant player and multiple healthy competitors \u2014 the network switching business. The move would put it in direct competition with\u00a0Cisco, HPE, Juniper Networks, and Arista.\n"As it does in many other categories, Amazon plans to use price to undercut rivals," the report said. "The company could price its white-box switches between 70 percent and 80 percent less than comparable switches from Cisco, one of the people with knowledge of the program estimated."\n\nNow, Cisco products aren\u2019t cheap, but how do you undercut it by 70 to 80 percent and not bleed money, even if it\u2019s a loss leader for cloud services?\nPatrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said the move is logical.\u00a0\u201cMakes sense particularly as most switches use the same Broadcom chipset and can run the same software. TORs are close to commodity,\u201d he tweeted.\nThe switches would specialize in connecting private data centers and Amazon Web Services (AWS). They'd use unbranded hardware and open-source software, with specialized connections to AWS cloud services. And it\u2019s not like AWS would be starting from scratch or working with the bottom of the barrel. The Information noted AWS uses these same switches inside its own data centers, and AWS\u2019s proposed partners are Celestica, Edgecore Networks, and Delta Networks.\nThose are established players that have a healthy corner of the market. More important, Celestica and Delta are American companies, while Edgecore is in Taiwan. Given the concern over networking and server equipment from Chinese vendors, that could go a ways to allay hesitant buyers.\nAWS, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and most cloud providers use unbranded white boxes from the U.S. and China in their data centers in preference to the more expensive and general use servers from HPE and Dell. These white box servers tend to have some features removed, such as unnecessary ports, with an emphasis in high throughput.\nSuch use has made the white box server market a rousing success, when their sales are taken collectively. HPE and Dell are still tops as individual vendors. Still, with Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google building data centers the size of football stadiums, it\u2019s done wonders for these guys.\nChallenge for Amazon: providing support services\nThe real Achilles' heel for AWS, though, isn\u2019t running up against Cisco; it\u2019s support. As The Information notes, networking is among the most complex challenges for companies that want to couple their private clouds with public clouds such as AWS. If Amazon\u2019s devices are an attempt to simplify the connection of the hybrid cloud, I have one question: Who\u2019s going to support it?\nAWS has partners, but the company falls short of Microsoft\u2019s MVPs and IBM\u2019s Global Services consultancies. I\u2019ve read more than once that with AWS, you are often on your own as compared to Microsoft Azure. AWS will need to significantly up its consultancy game if it wants to make these devices easy on-ramps to its services because the last thing any enterprise wants is for an Amazon delivery truck to drop a bunch of boxes at their lobby and say, "See ya!" AWS will have to bring people in to do the installation and setup.\nStill, the report says Amazon is 18 months away from launching, which gives it plenty of time to address all of those issues.\nUpdate 7\/23\/18:\u00a0Amazon has denied publicly and privately to Cisco that it is targeting Cisco\u2019s bread-and-butter network switching market.