& cplSiteName &

Arista Finds Love for Network Monitoring

Craig Matsumoto
2/13/2013
50%
50%

Arista Networks Inc. is entering the market for network monitoring, adding some features to the 7150 to make it suitable as an aggregation switch.

That could give it a new foothold against Cisco Systems Inc. And it also turns Arista into a new competitor for the specialists such as Gigamon Systems LLC that have had that market to themselves.

The software is called the Arista Data Analyzer -- DANZ for short -- and Arista is announcing on Wednesday that it's available on the 7150.

Network monitoring isn't just a separate beast from Ethernet switching; it's a whole other network. As operators put probes or taps around their network, to monitor traffic, they might build a separate network to feed the collected data into test and measurement equipment or into servers running analytics software. Gigamon made its name by offering a switch that aggregates and directs this monitoring traffic.

Of course, competitors came in, such as VSS Monitoring Inc., or Simena Networks, which was acquired by NetScout Systems Inc. in 2011. But Ethernet switch vendors didn't seem to care much.

10X the value
Now Arista wants in, but why?

Part of the reason involves the pricing of ports. A 10Gbit/s Ethernet port on a tap aggregation switch can cost US$2,500 to $4,000, compared with the $350 to $400 that Arista would charge, according to Doug Gourlay, Arista's vice president of marketing.

"It actually upset me," he says tongue-in-cheekly. "People value the monitoring of what we do 10 times more than what we're doing."

The difference can partly be explained by Arista's volumes, which make it easier to get economies of scale from the off-the-shelf switch chips it uses. "It's difficult for the company that sells specialized equipment to beat Arista in cost and throughput," says Peter Christy, an analyst with 451 Research.

Another attraction for Arista is that Cisco doesn't participate in this market. Keep in mind that some network owners build a second network for monitoring. That separate network doesn't have to be built from the same equipment as the main network, so it could be a way for Arista to get a foot in the door.

Customers that do use Arista gear now have the option of using part of a 7150 as a tap aggregation switch. It's just a feature activation away. It's not as if they get it for free, though; DANZ is available only under Arista's Z license option, one of the company's most advanced, Gourlay says. Presumably, that means it's also relatively expensive.

DANZ meets LANZ
DANZ is more than just Arista throwing its switch at the tap aggregation job. Arista is also taking advantage of existing capabilities of EOS, the Arista operating system, to sharpen the 7150's network monitoring mojo.

For example, Arista touts its switches' ability to decide when information should be sent for analysis, based on user-set thresholds. If latency starts building up (something the 7150 watches through a different feature called LANZ), the tracking begins.

"What people want is application-aware network analyzers," Christy says. When something goes wrong, "they say, 'Gee, how can I ask the network to give me all the traffic associated with those circumstances? I'd like it peeled off.'"

Arista also says it's increased the accuracy of the 7150's monitoring capabilities, to 10 nanosecond intervals, and it backs that up with hardware-based timestamps based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 1588 standard.

Other Ethernet switch vendors might not be so interested in the tap aggregation market, but they're all getting more interested in network visibility. (In fact, there's a Light Reading webinar about that topic at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, focusing on 40Gbit/s and 100Gbit/s networking.)

For instance, at SC12 in November, Extreme Networks Inc. demonstrated a switch running Big Switch's Big Tap monitoring application. The availability of those kinds of software-defined networking (SDN) tools, as well as the need to adhere to service delivery agreements, might keep network monitoring a high-priority topic among switch and router vendors.

For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Craig Matsumoto
50%
50%
Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/13/2013 | 7:49:30 PM
re: Arista Finds Love for Network Monitoring
NetScout does a lot of these same things, with the 3900 that was recently announced, right? So, in finding a niche that doesn't compete with Cisco, Arista runs into a different type of incumbent competition.

btw, Arista says the Z license runs $3K, amounting to about $50 per port. Not expensive by hardware-switch standards, but that brings up something else: These vendors will need to find a way to make money on software. Juniper talked about licensing schemes being all messed up. How bumpy a transition is this going to be?
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
February 26-28, 2018, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Project AirGig Goes Down to Georgia
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/13/2017
Here's Pai in Your Eye
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 12/11/2017
Verizon's New Fios TV Is No More
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/12/2017
Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/11/2017
Juniper Turns Contrail Into a Platform for Multicloud
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 12/12/2017
Animals with Phones
Don't Fall Asleep on the Job! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed