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Arista Launches Network-Wide Cloud Automation

Mitch Wagner
6/23/2015
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Arista has launched EOS CloudVision, the company's first standalone software product, which allows network operators to aggregate all their Arista switches and manage them as one for network-wide cloud automation.

The software is designed to bring the benefits of software-defined networking to Arista Networks Inc. networks, and work in harmony with SDN controllers from partners including VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL), Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) and others, as well as the open source OpenStack cloud controller.

Arista is drawing on its history with the customers it calls "cloud titans," such as Microsoft Azure, which contributed more than 25% of company sales. These services use custom software to achieve massive network scale with little need for manual oversight. (See Arista Addresses White Box Threat.)

With CloudVision, Arista is looking to bring that level of automation to traditional service provider and enterprise networks.

"When we talk about cloud and automation, the champions are the cloud titans," Jeff Raymond, Arista VP of EOS product management and services, told Light Reading. Other service providers and enterprises want the same advantages without having to write their own software. "They're looking for something more turnkey, something that shortens the ramp to get to the automated space. That's where our CloudVision is focused."

CloudVision is based on Arista's EOS network operating system, designed to provide a centralized tool for managing the entire network of Arista equipment, based on a database of detailed configuration information collected from individual network elements, Raymond says.

CloudVision can be connected to partner software using standard APIs, or managed through a GUI or command line interface.

Potential uses for CloudVision include turnkey provisioning of network elements, change management and network-wide rollback.

Arista contrasts CloudVision with the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) SDN platform from competitor Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) The two platforms have their similarities -- both are SDN ecosystems sold by a single vendor, with partnerships with other vendors.

But Arista says CloudVision is different from the Cisco offering. CloudVision is controller-agnostic, working with SDN controllers from partner vendors. Cisco provides its own controller, the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), says Raymond. (See Who Does What: SDN Controllers.)


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Arista is focused on network operations, where ACI is tightly integrated with application architectures, Raymond says.

(To be fair, Cisco touts its application integration as a virtue, claiming that by describing network operations in terms of application requirements, network operators can manage the network more easily than by sticking with flows and ports. And Cisco says it has tools other than ACI for network operators who want to stick with the network operations view.)

While CloudVision is Arista's first standalone software product, it's not Arista's first entry into the software business. The company touts its EOS switch operating system as its competitive advantage, and recently began offering subscription licensing to EOS. (See Arista Offers Software à la Carte.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

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