Arista looks to ward off Cisco with new low-latency switch

Arista Networks this week lowered the latency and upped the software programmability of its switches with the introduction of the Arista 7150S series.

Based on the Intel/Fulcrum Alta chipset, the 7150S offers latency of 350 nanoseconds, roughly 30% better than the 7124 series rolled out last year. The 7150S also includes hooks to third-party SDN controllers from Arista partners VMware, Big Switch and Nebula for network virtualization and virtual machine mobility.

"It's a highly programmable product that works nicely in a broader ecosystem through APIs" in the switch's EOS operating system, says Zeus Kerravala, principal at ZK Research.

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Arista specializes in low-latency switching for data centers and financial trading environments, and is funded by Andy Bechtolsheim, a founder of Sun Microsystems. The company's 7150S switch will compete with Cisco's Nexus 3000 series and a new Nexus 3500 series switch that's expected. It will also go up against Juniper's QFX3500.

The 7150S series offers up to 64 wire-speed 1/10G Ethernet or 16 40G Ethernet ports. Four individual 10G ports can be combined into a single 40G port for further scale, Arista says.

The 7150S supports VXLAN tunnels at wire-speed for workload mobility between physical and virtual machines, as well as Network Address Translation (NAT), IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol and application management. The wire-speed NAT capabilities allow for the elimination of hundreds of microseconds of forwarding delay in high-performance computing and financial trading environments, Arista says.

The company's Latency Analyzer functions provide application-level microburst detection, congestion monitoring and analysis designed to optimize big data and other performance-sensitive applications; and new packet formats can be parsed and forwarded with deterministic performance, Arista says.

The 7150S offers monitoring, analysis and forensic capabilities for both coarse and fine-grained views of data flows and network activities, as well as stateless load balancing, Arista says.

The Arista 7150S switches are orderable now and shipping in the fourth quarter. List prices start at $12,995.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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