Cloud enablement

Arista Looking for Love in IT Places

Arista Networks is taking what it hopes is the next step for its switches, introducing a series of applications that will run on its Arista Extensible Operating System (EOS) and make IT operations simpler and easier to run in a cloud environment. (See Arista Intros Datacenter Apps With VMWare, Microsoft.)

The applications are based on collaborations between Arista Networks Inc. and key partners such as VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), through an open-partner model designed to support a wide range of existing enterprise applications.

"We are not developing loads upon loads of features. We aren't talking about that," says Doug Gourlay, VP of marketing for Arista. "This is very focused feature development that is designed to solve the workflow problems or our IT customers -- coupled with the ability to partner with best-of-breed companies for load balancing, security, VPNs, gateways -- all the things our customers need."

The idea is to give customers the tools they need to build their IT infrastructure the way they choose to, using best-of-breed partners, he says.

Each of the three new network applications -- OpenWorkload, Smart System Upgrade, and Network Telemetry -- is designed to address a specific requirement or problem area for Arista's customers as they make the transition to more virtualized operations. For example, OpenWorkload simplifies the environment for networking virtualized and cloud environments to enable "any workload to be put any place," Gourlay says. Arista's switches will seamlessly integrate with VMware NSX to deliver hardware-based gateway services for existing services that aren't virtualized. They will also deliver total visibility of workloads across the environment, as well as automated provisioning.

Smart System Upgrade aims to make network upgrades simpler, and through integration with Microsoft keep customers up-to-date on software releases. Network Telemetry is intended to offer faster troubleshooting. It communicates directly with applications about the network state.

Why this matters: Arista touts itself as number two in the data-center switch market and is certainly working harder to address what it sees as customers' practical problems in the data realm. This comes after Arista launched the highest density 100 Gbit/s switch. The company is also increasingly targeting service providers, in part because it believes many small and mid-sized companies will be turning to service providers for cloud-based services going forward, rather than investing in their own infrastructure.

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

Carol Wilson 8/26/2013 | 5:14:22 PM
Getting more practical I think it's interesting to see more vendors apparently stepping up to some of the deployment challenges that IT departments are facing. It's also interesting that Arista sees service providers as their main vehicle for reaching SMBs -- albeit those are often cloud service providers. 
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