Light Reading
The switches shown off at VMworld come to life, with software-defined networking on board and some non-Broadcom chips inside

Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
9/19/2012
50%
50%

Arista unveiled its newest switch family Wednesday, adding some nods to software-defined networking (SDN).

The new 7150 series supports the idea of reprogramming the forwarding rules in software -- allowing for protocols such as OpenFlow to issue commands to the switch. It supports OpenFlow 1.0 so far, with OpenFlow 1.2 support in the works. (OpenFlow 1.1 is generally considered a miscue and will be skipped by most equipment vendors.)

It's also got hardware support for virtual extensible LANs (VXLANs), the VMware-supported technology for creating Layer 3 tunnels between virtual machines. Arista actually demonstrated this on the 7150 in August at VMworld, as Light Reading noted previously.

The VXLAN feature is running not on the Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) chips that Arista has been using, but on switching chips from Fulcrum Microsystems, recently acquired by Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC).

The 7150 boxes are top-of-rack switches, 1 rack unit tall; the highest-end model offers 64 10Gbit/s Ethernet ports. The latency through the switch is 350 nanoseconds, Arista officials say.

The switches are already shipping in production.

Why this matters
Quite a few new switches are targeting the SDN-enabled data center, evidence that SDN isn't going to turn the systems into a commodity. (At least, not right away.) "The network is going to have to evolve" in order for data-center owners to get the returns they expect from virtualization, analyst Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research said Monday, during an Arista press-and-analysts briefing.

Last week, Brocade announced a chassis-based switch targeting the new data center core. Cisco is likewise preparing a new switch with massive 10Gbit/s Ethernet scale in mind and possibly an integrated controller. And you did hear about the Huawei router that was also announced Wednesday, right?

Then again, Intel, at its developer forum last week, announced an SDN platform: Fulcrum switch chips, Xeon processors, software from Wind River Systems Inc. (well, a Linux kernel anyway). It could be the ideal kit for making a commodity SDN-enabled switch, Brian Marshall of ISI Group Inc. noted in a brief report Monday.

For more



See also: The Heavy Reading Components Insider report, "Integrated Switch Chips: Delivering Terabit Performance," which includes the Broadcom and Intel chips.

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(14)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:46 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


I honestly don't know and intend to ask around about it. 


I doubt there's a standard. My assumption would be that most single-box latency figures refer to port-to-port times under particularly favorable conditions (certain packet sizes, e.g.)


Anyone care to chime in with specifics about this, or even about how the marketing end is done?

patentchoi
50%
50%
patentchoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:46 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


Is there any standardized way to test the latency for these data center fabrics ? Or is there any 'Cisco math' at play here ? Where does this leave qfab whose latency is of the order of microsecs ?

rainbowarrior
50%
50%
rainbowarrior,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:45 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


LR,


Is it true that Arista's SDN, OF-enabled switches are several times more expensive than their non-SDN, non-OF switches?


And if so doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of SDN? Wasn't the main use case to create cheap, generic switchs?


 

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:45 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


The purpose of SDN isn't cheap switches, I would argue. That's a hoped-for consequence, but for carriers, it's not the raw purpose, and it probably wouldn't happen for a while anyway.


The purpose is to gain flexibility that the closed switch/router systems don't offer. Now, you could translate that into "We want generic switches," and that might be what the Stanford crew originally was after -- but the first generations of SDN will end up being implemented on name-brand hardware, in most cases.


If Arista's new switches are that much more expensive (the cheapest 7150 sells for $13K, according to the press release, so "several times" might be a bit much), it's more because of all the other things that are in hardware: NAT translation, IEEE 1588 support, and the VXLAN thing that required the use of Fulcrum.


That said -- OpenFlow can get expensive if you use a lot of TCAM memories, which is what the protocol was developed for.  So, people (IBM, e.g.) are designing OpenFlow-supporting switches that don't need so many TCAMs.

paradigm1974
50%
50%
paradigm1974,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:44 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


Disclaimer: I am a Juniper employee. I try not to be unduly biased but I'm only human.


I'm not sure if there is some sort of standardized and public methodology for measuring fabric latency but here's how Juniper does it.


QFabric's latency is measured from one edge of the fabric to the to other edge of the fabric. To say it another way, the latency metrics are the sum of the latencies of each of the parts of the fabric. The near-side QFabric Node, the QFabric Interconnect, the far-side QFabric Node and all 4 cables.


When you take a moment and consider everything that goes into the latency measurements we cite, I think you'll find that sub-3 to sub-5 microseconds isn't as long a time as it might have first seemed.


While our competitors make a lot of noise about how fast their individual switches are I think it's a better use of your time to focus on how long it will take for your data to go from one side of your fabric / data center to the other. Once someone considers that particular question, they'll see that QFabric is really, really fast.

RockyMtn_Jack
50%
50%
RockyMtn_Jack,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:43 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


Calculating Port-to-port latencies within a single switch are fairly well defined and understood, since this is a common benchmark. There is some level of marketing gamesmenship that comes into play with large parkets (if one counts the first byte of the packet, or the last) but generally port-to-port performance for a single switch is a fair measurment.


Once you get beyond the capacity of one switch (64 ports in this case) and calculate performace at a Data Center scale, performance is less repeatable and comparable between vendors. L2 & L3 performance can make a big differnence, and verdors can be counted on to pick a traffic mix that favors thier architecture, chassis switches cna have unpredicable latencies between blades and varying paths through the Access/Aggregation/Core layers means some flows makes only one hop, while others can make 5 or more.


In this light, Juniper's TOR switch compares with ~750ns Port-to-Port latency (which will presumably drop as the new chips from Broadcom & Fulcrum roll out) - and the QFabric (composed of the TORs + a central interconnct) latency of ~5 microseconds is probably the fastest/lowest way to connect more than 700 ports.

BigBro
50%
50%
BigBro,
User Rank: Moderator
12/5/2012 | 5:20:42 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


The Arista 7124SX (24 ports, 500ns latency, "non-SDN") has a list price of $12,995.


The Arista 7150S-24 (24 ports, 350ns latency, "SDN") has a list price of $12,995.


 

rainbowarrior
50%
50%
rainbowarrior,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:41 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


LR,


When a vendor claims to support "SDN" could you get some technical details as to what exactly they support? A lot of us are trying to separte the marketing hype and "SDN-washing" noise from real technology and innovation. "SDN" just seems to be popping up everywhere and seems at risk of losing any real meaning. 

rainbowarrior
50%
50%
rainbowarrior,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:41 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


Thank you for the clarification. I guess you have good information on the 7150S-24. So for Openflow 1.1 how many flows does it actully support and what is the flow setup rate? And when will it support OF 1.3 and what are the targets for it in terms of flow scale and setup/teardown rates?

BigBro
50%
50%
BigBro,
User Rank: Moderator
12/5/2012 | 5:20:41 PM
re: Arista's New Hardware Packs SDN


> I guess you have good information on the 7150S-24.


All I know was in their press releases:


"Available immediately the Arista 7124SX switch starts at  $12,995 USD."


http://www.aristanetworks.com/...


 


"The Arista 7150 Series switches are orderable now and shipping in CQ4 2012, with a list price starting at $12,995."


http://www.aristanetworks.com/...

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Graham Finnie from Heavy Reading about some of the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control.
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
LRTV Interviews
Bob Wilson, Arsenal Legend: The Light Reading Interview

1|16|15   |   35:36   |   (3) comments


Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson was Light Reading's guest interviewee at the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in December. See what the former soccer star and sports broadcaster had to say when he took to the stage in Iceland.
LRTV Custom TV
What MEF Third Network Initiative Means for SDN & NFV

1|14|15   |   6:13   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss discusses the importance of the MEF Third Network initiative and why it's good news for SDN/NFV industry initiatives.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Frank Miller: Distributed Solutions are the Best Build for the Future - Part II

1|9|15   |   2:46   |   (0) comments


At SCTE, Frank Miller, Global CTO of MSO at Huawei, speaks about Cable 2.0 and its innovative future.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cuomo Unveils Broadband Aid Program
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/19/2015
BlackBerry Wants Net Neutrality Protection -- That's Just Sad
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/22/2015
FiOS Picks Up Pace Again
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/22/2015
Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/22/2015
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive