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Arista Improves EOS Visibility for Cloud Deployments

Mitch Wagner
1/19/2016
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Arista today introduced upgrades to its flagship EOS operating system, designed to optimize performance and management in big hybrid cloud deployments.

The upgrades include new management capabilities and integration with third-party management tools.

Arista specializes in networking equipment for big cloud deployments by service providers, enterprises and a market segment Arista calls the "cloud titans," including Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), which is one of Arista's biggest customers. These companies are leading implementers of New IP networks.

"That's what we do. We do cloud," Jeff Raymond, VP EOS product management and services, tells Light Reading.

That focus differentiates Arista from arch-competitor Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which is a complete networking solution provider, including routers, switches, data center rack-mounted servers, collaboration applications, security services and all.

It also sets Arista apart from suppliers such as Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) (a Cisco partner) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), which focus on the service provider market.

Tuesday's announcements focus on extending EOS's founding principles. EOS, Arista's flagship operating system, is based on Linux and uses unmodified Linux APS to allow it to be managed as a server. It provides SysDB, a central database of devices on the network and uses a publish/subscribe model to propagate changes quickly across large numbers of network devices. And it uses proven, open networking APIs -- in addition to Linux, these include a standard networking command line interface (CLI), Raymond says.

That CLI has gotten Arista in trouble, as Cisco sued Arista in late 2014, claiming the CLIs are Cisco's intellectual property. Arista denies the charges, and the litigation is ongoing. (See Arista: Cisco 'Very Much Like a Patent Troll', Cisco Hits Setback in Arista Suit, Cisco Slams Arista With Massive Patent & Copyright Suit.)

On Tuesday, Arista announced broadening SysDB to incorporate software infrastructure improvements and a new brand -- NetDB. The infrastructure improvements include greater scalability, for more than a million routes and 100,000 tunnels with millisecond convergence.

NetDB also provides Network State Architecture, which provides real-time streaming of complete network configuration, as an alternative to the standard method of distributing information by polling devices at intervals to obtain a subset of configuration information included in a Management Information Base (MIB). By storing information in a Hadoop database, network operators can view the network configuration over time.

New in EOS is support for the Go programming language, developed by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) for building network applications, as well as OpenConfig API standards.

As a further tool to promote network visibility, Arista supports "tracers," which probe a network for microbursts, network performance, the location of virtual workloads and Docker containers, and other information that can affect network performance. Arista is working on extending tracers to go beyond the network to discover information about public and private clouds.

EOS integrates with third-party applications to manage the network in conjunction with the hypervisor, compute, storage and other resources. For example, partner VMTurbo Inc. builds an application that optimizes applications and workflow over the network to run on either the public or private cloud. "We take what we know about the network, bundle it up, provide it to the partner and let their technology become more intelligent," Raymond says.

Finally, EOS is adding support for Docker Inc. containers. Network operators will be able to deploy containers on EOS, then run apps such as Jabber XMPP servers or iPerf performance monitoring on those containers. EOS will also be able to visualize containerized workloads for network management purposes.

The NetDB infrastructure enhancements are mostly available today; Go, OpenConfig; public APIs and partner integration are in customer trials this quarter.

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— 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 [email protected]

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