Arista Enhances EOS Network OS for Cloud Environments

The company is bringing container support and expanded network-wide database capabilities to the upgraded operating system.

cloud networks

Arista Networks is broadening the capabilities in its network operating system to make it easier for enterprises to move away from legacy infrastructures and embrace cloud networking.

Company officials this week introduced the latest generation of its Extensible Operating System (EOS) with enhanced capabilities for managing and improving performance in hybrid cloud environments. EOS is the foundation of Arista's efforts around creating open and programmable cloud networking infrastructures and a key differentiator for the company as it competes with other vendors, including Cisco Systems and Ericsson, according to company officials.

Arista targets its offerings at large cloud environments and enterprises that want to migrate their networks to more flexible, programmable and dynamic infrastructures.

"At least four factors are driving the rise of … cloud topologies: economics, dense workload mobility, converged infrastructures (storage especially) and new cloud applications like big data analytics," CEO Jayshree Ullal, a former Cisco executive, wrote in a post on the company blog. "By decoupling physical compute or storage from cloud applications, one can automate and provision the entire network to handle any workload, workflow or workstream, with real time agility."

By contrast, Ullal said, "legacy vendors have not changed enterprise network operating systems for two to three decades. No wonder they don't meet today's cloud networking needs. Legacy technology is old, decrepit and monolithic. To make matters worse, the demand for new cloud features, when placed on top of ancient foundations, increasingly compromises software quality."

With the latest version of the Linux-based EOS, Arista is adding a range of new capabilities. A key addition is the introduction of NetDB, a network-wide central database of devices on the network that builds upon the operating system's SysDB, a system-level state repository. NetDB brings greater scalability, with EOS now supporting more than 1 million routes and 100,000 tunnels.

"NetDB builds upon the SysDB architecture—sharing state over the network by adding network-wide actions, including state-sharing mechanisms for control, replication and network analytics and a central store for network state," Ullal wrote. "This extends the benefits of the state-based system across the entire network."

In addition, NetDB—through the company's CloudVision platform—also offers the ability to aggregate the network state of all EOS devices into a single point and then stream network-wide telemetry data that can be used to improve network operations through greater visibility and historical analytics.

The new EOS also offers support for agents written in the Go programming language through a broader set of APIs, to go along with its support for OpenConfig APIs and data models.

And there are new features to help businesses embrace hybrid clouds. Through the CloudVision platform, EOS offers management for hybrid cloud solutions. In addition, the operating system includes support for workload migration between private and public clouds, while cloud-bursting features enable enterprises to pursue their hybrid cloud roadmaps by linking private and public clouds.

In the upgraded EOS, Arista officials also are turning their attention to containers. The operating system now includes support for Docker containers and offers enhanced visibility into physical and virtual environments through Container Tracer. Users now can load container-based applications directly onto the EOS platform, and the Container Tracer offers greater monitoring capabilities for these applications, officials said.

The new EOS and its various features, including NetDB, will be available this quarter.