More SDN-friendly Arista switches could boost cloud services

Arista Networks data center switch software now supports OpenFlow, OpenStack

Arista Networks this week unveiled software-defined networking (SDN) extensions to its data center switch operating system that tie the company's products into cloud orchestration and flow management systems.

The extensions, components of a new release of Arista's EOS software, include APIs for integration with orchestration and provisioning tools, and customer applications. Among the APIs are an enhanced OpenStack Quantum plug-in, OpenFlow 1.0 support and enhanced data plane programmability for OpenFlow.

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Together, the extensions in EOS are designed to speed up provisioning of cloud services and IT workflows from weeks to seconds, Arista says.

(SDNs are a way to make networks more programmable through software so that they can be reconfigured quickly and functionally extended more easily. OpenFlow is an open source API and protocol to enable SDNs.)

The OpenFlow implementation allows customers to implement a heterogeneous IP and OpenFlow switch. OpenFlow allows the Arista switch to be orchestrated through an OpenFlow SDN controller while the switch can also respond to an IP control plane.

Arista's extensions to OpenFlow enable direct data plane manipulation of flow tables in Arista switches for programmatic control of network path selection, Arista says.

The new APIs also allow remote systems to connect to Arista EOS via the JSON-based web services API for machine-to-machine communication. Working with the OpenStack Quantum plugin, this unifies the physical network topology with virtual switch configuration and VM placement in an OpenStack cloud, Arista says.

The APIs and extensions to EOS the company's switches up to monitoring and cloud integration products from partners NEC, SolarWinds, Splunk, Big Switch, Cloudera, Corvil and ExtraHop Networks.

The new release of is available now.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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