Arista fires broadside at Cisco/Insieme with new switches

Unveils new data center, cloud switches just ahead of Nexus 9000 launch

Kicking off a week that promises to be rich in data center and cloud networking news, Arista Networks today unveiled a new line of switches designed to bring programmable provisioning to smaller, more cost conscious deployments.

Arista switch

Arista also trotted out several big name vendors endorsing its new 7000X series product line, including Aruba, F5, Microsoft, Riverbed, Palo Alto Networks, SAP, Splunk and VMware. The moves are a not-so-subtle broadside to Cisco’s Insieme Networks launch this week, which is expected to introduce the Nexus 9000 line of programmable data center and cloud switches at prices intended to make them directly competitive with Arista.

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The 7000X series includes the 7300X and 7250X. Both are designed to let users implement both as single-tier collapsed spine and leaf switches – an architecture Arista calls “spline” –  for consolidating servers, simplifying cabling, increasing performance, and reducing latency and cost. Single-tier spline architectures are designed to scale up to 2,000 servers while two-tier leaf-and-spine topologies supports up to 100,000 servers, Arista says.

Spline also costs 40% less than leaf-spine in configuration of 768 10Gbase-T ports, Arista says.

The Arista 7300X includes three chassis configurations, the four-slot 7304X, the eight-slot 7308X and the 16-slot 7316X. The line scales up to 512 ports of 40G Ethernet or 2,048 ports of 10G, with 40Tbps of throughput, Arista says. Linecard modules for the Arista 7300X include 10GBASE-T, SFP and QSFP configurations.

Front-to-rear and rear-to-front airflow options allow for middle-of-row Spline configurations.

Two Arista 7316 systems can fit in a single 42RU rack supporting over 4,000 10G ports, Arista says. Power consumption is under 3 watts per 10G port, and latency is under 2 microseconds.

The 7300X is a complement to the 7500E Arista rolled out earlier this year, the company says. Here’s how they compare: 

Arista

Arista says a pair of 7300 series switches can replace two Cisco Catalyst 6509Es, which are common in data center end-of-row deployments, with more than 10 times the scale, throughput, latency improvement and power efficiency. The 7300X and 7500E are also targeted at Cisco’s Nexus 7700 line, which was introduced early in the summer.

Arista switch

The Arista 7250X offers 64 ports of 40G or up to 256 Ports of 10G in a 2RU form factor.

Both switches offer support of up to 288,000 media access control entries, or 144,000 routes; duplex 40G LRL4 QSFP optics with a single pair of single mode fiber, reducing fiber requirements by 75% compared to existing alternatives – this is intended to compete with the Cisco/Insieme 40G transceiver expected this week; network telemetry, with real-time visibility into congestion, buffer management and sFlow traffic analysis; Arista VM Tracer provisioning, native VXLAN support in Broadcom Trident II silicon, and workload mobility and migration across multiple hypervisors.

Partners will add their own specialities through interfaces to Arista’s EOS operating system. F5 will contribute uptime and availability extensions; Microsoft and VMware will add System Center orchestration and provisioning, and NSX network virtualization, respectively; Aruba will add wireless integration; Palo Alto will provide security extensions; and Splunk and Riverbed will contribute network telemetry.

The X series switches also support OpenStack cloud orchestration and provisioning tools.

The Arista 7250QX-64 is available now and shipping for $1,500 per 40G port, or about three times the average selling price of a fixed configuration 10G port, according to Dell’Oro. The 7300X series will be available in the fourth quarter from $500 per 10G port, less than half average selling price of a modular 10G port.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 27 years, 22 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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