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Arista Bolsters Programmability, Latency With 7150S Switch Line

Arista's new 7150S switches connect to third-party SDN controllers and provide support for VXLAN tunnels for better virtual machine mobility.

Arista Networks has launched a new series of low-latency switches with improved programmability designed to support architectures that interoperate with software-defined networking controllers.

The Arista 7150S uses the company's Extensible Operating System (EOS), a modular switch OS that separates the switch state from protocol processing and application logic. The 7150S also features a fully programmable hardware forwarding plane. "It can enable new protocols without having to force a hardware upgrade," says Anshul Sadana, Arista's senior VP of customer engineering.

The low latency of the 7150S supports the scaling of applications related to big data and cloud computing, while addressing multitenancy requirements without decreased performance, he adds. The 7150S is particularly suited to meeting low-latency demands of electronics communications networks in the financial services sector, high-performance computing clusters and cloud data centers.

In terms of speed, the 7150S delivers port-to-port latency of 350 nanoseconds for Layer 2/3 forwarding when 40-GbE ports are enabled. It also can deliver up to 64 wire speed 1/10 G Ethernet or 16 40-G Ethernet ports, while further scalability can be achieved by combining four 10-G ports into a single 40-G port.

The 7150S supports VXLAN tunnels at wire speed so workloads can be moved faster between physical and virtual machines. "Where the physical machine doesn't support a VXLAN capability, the end switch provides the VXLAN termination for the network," says Martin Hull, a senior product manager at Arista. "Not only can we support virtual to physical, but we can also support tunneling from virtual machines to appliance-like devices like firewalls and load balancers that may not have the capability to understand VXLAN."

The 7150S also features support for network address translation and the IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol on a single system, says Hull.

Rohit Metra, director of enterprise communications infrastructure at IDC, said the programmability of the 7150S is a major step up from the 7124 (which was programmable by partners) in that Arista can make changes to the forwarding plane without organizations having to make significant hardware changes. In the past, changes could require anywhere from 12 to 24 months turnaround time, he says.

The difference with the 7150S is that changes in the forwarding plane would be made by Arista in subsequent iterations, "but these changes have a turnaround time that are significantly faster--weeks or months, as opposed to a one- or two-year cycle to spin a new product with a new forwarding plane," says Metra. "It adds a lot to Arista's flexibility and ability to respond to changing application needs with their switching platform."

Next: Arista's Strategy and How the 7150S Fits In

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