Infinera, Arista Team to Conquer DCI Space

Integrated solution targets fast-growing market of metro connections that need high capacity, flexibility, scalability and more.

May 5, 2015

3 Min Read
Infinera, Arista Team to Conquer DCI Space

Arista and Infinera are teaming up in the metro data center interconnect (DCI) market, hoping the sum of their parts will be more attractive in this fast-growing space and promising to deliver easier-to-use, high-performance options focused on this space at attractive price points. (See Infinera, Arista Team on Metro DCI.)

Data center interconnect within a metro is a fast-growing segment as more content and cloud services are delivered into the market and need to be stored and accessed closer to enterprises and other customers. What Arista Networks Inc. and Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) are doing is combining Arista's data center switching and Infinera's Cloud Xpress optical transport products that were designed for this space to target Internet content providers, businesses and also managed service providers.

For Infinera, this is the latest in its aggressive move into the metro and DCI space, which the company admits is a new key market. Arista also has been actively courting the cloud data center market. (See Infinera Targets Data Center Connectivity Market With Metro Platform, Infinera Coming Closer to Mastering the Metro and Arista & Super Micro Partner for Cloud-Scale Data Centers.)

The result of the combination isn't just one approach, however, as the Arista 7000 series can be paired with Infinera's optical transport in ways that target bandwidth-intense applications, latency-sensitive needs or the growing need for flexibility and scale, notes Ed Chapman, Arista VP-business development and alliances. By providing the product integration, the two vendors hope to offer a easier choice for businesses looking to move quickly.

"We are highlighting different use cases that extend beyond what people normally think of as DCI," Chapman says. That includes financial institutions -- thus, the low latency -- as well as high-performance metro cloud networking for things such as video content and the flexibility to move from 10-Gig to 40-Gig to 100-Gig services as needed.

Flexibility is increasingly important in data center interconnection at the metro level because of the way increasing bandwidth demands are turning even campus connections into high-capacity links, says Vinay Rathore of Infinera, senior director of product marketing at Infinera. That's why it is increasingly important to have smaller footprint systems that can be easily deployed in a single rack-unit and why Infinera and Arista believe an integrated solution will have appeal.

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"We are offering unique capabilities in terms of form factor and connectivity," Chapman comments. The integrated system also can support either OpenStack cloud deployments or virtual machines based on VMWare or other vendors.

Specifically, the integrated solution can offer up to 8 Tbit/s of capacity on a single pair of fiber and up to 21 Tbit/s on an eight-foot rack, says Rathore.

"That type of capacity between two data centers basically means you have now enabled considerable scale for the virtual machines and for the storage applications and being able to share all of that data across multiple data centers creates the distributed data center architecture many people are looking for," he says.

In coming together, the two companies are hoping to effectively compete both among Internet content players, service providers and others looking to mix and match best-of-breed options and against the bigger players (they're looking at you, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)) that promise end-to-end solutions.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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