Arista decouples switch, software pricing

Calls it “disaggregation,” but merely subscription consumption of OS software

Arista Networks this week decoupled the pricing of its software and switch hardware as a consumption option for cloud providers.

Arista is offering its EOS operating system as a separate subscription-based license from its switch hardware. The hardware is priced under a separate bundle but its purchase requires an EOS subscription.

Essentially what Arista has done is priced its hardware and software separately and offered EOS as a subscription-based license vs. a perpetual license. It’s a new consumption model for Arista kit that the vendor says is more aligned with the way cloud providers purchase and operate the products.

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Though Arista calls this a “disaggregated” model -- a current trend in the industry where hardware and/or software is decoupled and free to run on alternate platforms – EOS still requires Arista hardware and Arista switches still require EOS. Juniper, for example, offers a Juniper-branded white box switch that can run the company’s Junos operating system or an alternative that supports the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE).

Dell has opened up its merchant silicon-based switch hardware to run operating systems from Cumulus Networks and Big Switch Networks, as has HP with Cumulus.

Arista has no current plans to support ONIE or offer EOS on hardware other than its own.

“We are very customer driven at Arista and, to date, there has not been customer demand for running EOS on non-Arista hardware,” the company stated. “However, Arista EOS is architecturally built to run on generally available hardware (x86 CPUs, merchant silicon, etc). So while it is technically very possible to run EOS on 'bare metal switches', we have no plans to formally support this (via traditional EOS or via EOS as a subscription offerings).”

So what Arista has “disaggregated” with EOS subscription is the pricing of its hardware and software. The company says EOS-as-a-subscription will address challenges cloud providers face in capital and operational expense as they build out capacity.

It’s an alternative to current offerings, where Arista hardware and EOS software are integrated into a single bundle under a perpetual software license. Arista says the new software subscription-based licensing model offers customers a way to better balance their budgets.

Arista also enhanced EOS with simplified programming for Python and Ruby scripting languages through tighter integration with Arista’s eAPI. And Puppet Labs recently introduced the availability of a native Arista EOS Puppet agent and an Arista EOS module on the Puppet Forge user community, part of the Puppet Enterprise Supported Modules program.

Puppet Enterprise can now work with data centers equipped with Arista EOS and changes to the network can happen as part of the application workflow, Arista says.

General availability for EOS-as-a-Subscription is planned for the second quarter. EaaS pricing starts at $495 per month for select fixed configuration products, and includes all EOS advanced feature licenses along with 24x7 support. Hardware-only packages, available on volume top-of-rack switches, start at $9,995.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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