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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.

Samuel Barnett, a directing analyst at Infonetics Research, says the key to Arista's platform strategy has been its EOS, which allows it to cross hardware platforms. "Arista certainly has led the charge in more of a software model for networking. This makes SDN elements much easier for them to achieve than some other players."

He says the VXLAN support included in the 7150S is in line with how enterprises and service providers are looking to build data centers. "Anything we can do to reduce connection times and transit latencies, the better off we are--especially in time-sensitive transactions."

Barnett says the 7150S is well-positioned for high-performance, low-latency networking, such as high-frequency trading, as well as other applications in the financial vertical and big data. He adds that 40 G is gaining traction but mostly in configurations combining four 10-G ports. "Router interfaces at 40 G are still too expensive for widespread adoption."

SDN has the potential to solve a lot of problems for service providers, but use cases within the enterprise are less clear, says Barnett. "In the service provider space it could give a vendor the ability to rapidly provision and deliver new services."

However, he adds, enterprises won't be throwing away more than 20 years of routing and switching knowledge in favor of SDN. It's a powerful tool, but it can be dangerous. "Is it reasonable to assume the typical IT shop has the depth and breadth of knowledge about its own network and the applications that rely on that network to disregard the safeguards that we've established through networking protocols?" Barnett asks. "Most, no. Some, yes."

Bob Laliberte, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, says there's still some confusion over what's included under the SDN umbrella. "SDN and some of the enabling technologies are still relatively new, so organizations need to separate the hype from the reality," he says. "Organizations really need to get educated on the technology, understand how it will integrate into their environment over time, whether that be physical or virtual network environments, enterprise or service providers."

Arista's focus on being open and programmable and more concentrated on software than hardware has made it easy for third parties to integrate their products with the company's technology, Laliberte says, which has been demonstrated by recent announcements at VMworld by VMware, F5 and EMC.

The 7150S also allows enterprises to connect to third-party SDN controllers from Arista partners including Big Switch, Nebula and VMware.

Arista's 7150S switches are priced starting at $12,995 and can be ordered now for shipping during the fourth quarter.

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