Arista embeds applications into Ethernet switch

New 7124FX allows users to write apps to programmable ASIC to lower latency

Arista Networks this week rolled out an Ethernet switch designed to improve the performance of latency-sensitive applications like those found in financial trading and high performance computing environments.

Arista's 7124FX Application Switch enables applications to run natively in the network, Arista says. It does this by allowing insertion of the application into the data stream through a programmable ASIC.

The 160Gbps ASIC lets customers integrate their own applications into the network to attain twofold to fivefold improvements in system latency, Arista says. This is in contrast to other switching companies that offer optional hardware acceleration for applications -- Arista says these offerings can't match the low latency of an application written directly to a programmable ASIC.

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The 7124FX features 24 1G/10G Ethernet SFP and SFP+ ports. Sixteen of the ports are connected to the switch ASIC while eight are connected through the programmable ASIC. This is intended to dedicate switch ports to the applications written to the programmable ASIC.

The 7124FX also has an optional atomic clock port. This is designed to match the switch clock with atomic clock accuracy and provide fairness to trading institutions no matter where their 7124FX switch is located, Arista says.

Arista has also lined up partners to facilitate application integration into the network for select markets. Novasparks and Exegy address market data and ticker applications, respectively; and systems integrators Enyx and Impulse C work with trading customers and those writing applications from the C language to RTL.

Arista and its partners also provide life cycle services and support of the 7124FX for customers, the company said.

The 7124FX Application Switch is currently being trialed by over a dozen Arista customers worldwide. It will be generally available in the second quarter, with list prices starting at about $50,000. The atomic clock option raises that list price closer to $60,000.

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