Arista Eyes Cisco, Insieme With New Network Switches

The offerings in the 7000X Series will offer up to 10 times the speed of Cisco's Catalyst 6500 offerings, Arista officials say.

Arista Networks is rolling out a new family of switches for software-defined networks that officials are calling better alternatives to rival Cisco Systems' Catalyst 6500 products.

The company is introducing its Arista 7000X Series, which officials said will help organizations collapse their two-tier leaf-and-spine designs into a single tier that they are calling a "Spline" network for cloud applications. Moving to such a collapsed network will help businesses save as much as 40 percent on operating and capital expenses, according to Arista.

Arista's unveiling of the 7000X Series Nov. 4 is the most recent in a spate of announcements from networking vendors in the days leading up to Cisco's Nov. 6 announcement of products from its Insieme "spin-in" company and its application-centric infrastructure initiative. Juniper Networks on Oct. 29 launched its MetaFabric networking architecture, while Cumulus Networks introduced the latest version of its Linux network operating system.

Through its 7500E and 7x50 Series solutions, Arista already offers leaf-and-spine network designs, which are two-tiered architectures that handle traffic between Layer 2 and 3 nodes and between servers. With the new 7000 X Series, those duties can be collapsed into a single tier. The range of offerings gives Arista a more complete portfolio, according to President and CEO Jayshree Ullal.

"Together, they cover all of the important multi-path deployment scenarios in a practical manner without introducing any proprietary inventions," Ullal wrote in a post on the company blog. "These approaches can scale from the smallest, most practical deployment to the largest clouds in the world with 100s of thousands of servers and zettabytes of storage. The new 7000 X-series products support entry-level to large-scale density, while also offering unique operational visibility of network telemetry functions."

The new solutions bring 10 times the scale of Cisco's Catalyst 6500 products, according to Arista officials. Comprising the 7000X Series are the Arista 7300X and 7250X, both of which run the company's EOS operating system. The 7300X offers four, eight and 16 line card slots, can scale up to 512 ports of 40 Gigabit Ethernet or 2,048 ports of 10GbE. Two 7316X 16-slot systems can fit in a 42U (73.5-inch) rack, support more than 4,000 10GbE ports, consume less than 3 watts per 10GbE port and offer latency of less than 2 microseconds. The switches can replace two Catalyst 6509Es and offer 10 times the scale, throughput, latency improvement and power efficiency, according to the company.

The Arista 7250X Series is aimed at high-density environments, with 64 ports of wire-speed 40GbE or up to 256 ports of 10GbE in a fixed two-rack unit that offer redundant power supplies and fans.

Arista officials also highlighted the range of partners they're working with, including F5 Networks, Microsoft, Network Telemetry, Riverbed Technology, Palo Alto Networks, VMware and Aruba Networks. The 7000X Series also works with provisioning tools in the OpenStack cloud orchestration technology, according to the company.

The 7300X and 7250X Series are part of Arista's larger Software-Defined Cloud Network. The 7250X is available now for $1,500 per 40GbE port, while the 7300X Series systems will be available in the first quarter starting at $500 per 10GbE port.