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The Game Changer in Cloud Networking

Jayshree Ullal
by Jayshree Ullal on Jun 22, 2015 10:58:38 PM

The networking market is at an exciting pivot point, evolving away from legacy enterprise networking to the cloud. While the public cloud providers ("titans") may take a "do it yourself" approach to engineering cloud network designs, mainstream enterprises demand a "cloudified" turnkey solution and want to emulate cloud operators. The increasingly massive scale of address tables, devices, flooding, broadcast traffic from discovery protocols, subnets and routing protocols have accelerated the need for disruption in networking workflows, making Arista a unique and welcome pioneer for customers ready to make SDN a reality.

Software Driven Cloud Networking Trends

To appreciate the need for SDN and cloud solutions one must step back and understand why the cloud network is dramatically different from legacy networking.

First, in a cloud, everything is dynamic. Resources become available and go off-line, users are logging in and out, and workloads are going up or down depending on compute needs. This is a fundamental difference of cloud versus static computing in enterprises.

Second, cloud data centers are much larger than typical enterprise datacenters and can contain tens, even hundreds of thousands of servers. Legacy management practices and policies that are used in smaller datacenters don't apply to clouds since they just do not work for these numbers.

Third, clouds operate 24x7. Downtime is simply not tolerated. The availability and performance of the cloud is critically dependent on the availability and performance of the cloud network, and therefore the network must be always on, with change management and rollback modes.

From Silos to Network-Wide Controls

In order to make the overall system adapt to this dynamic behavior on a large scale, the network has to become more adaptive to workloads and workflows as part of the overall cloud portal or dashboard. Overcoming the "box" approach, Arista founded a disruptive programmable network software foundation with its Extensible Operating System (EOS), using open Linux APIs and a unique multi-process state sharing architecture to communicate between the physical underlay network and specific cloud applications. Arista EOS supports the granular ability to program at every level of the switch architecture all the way to the forwarding plane through the "state-driven" EOS System Database (SysDB). Today, Arista extends this decade of work from the control of a single switch to the simple and direct control of a more global network of switches for provisioning and automation.

An Industry First - CloudVision®

Arista's abstraction of the physical network to a global, network-wide perspective as shown in the last two columns of Figure 1 is fundamental to achieving operational control and reduced costs. By decoupling the network from applications, we are now bringing unprecedented control of cloud networking. Arista's introduction of CloudVision is an industry game changer for network-wide migration of workloads and workflows. It overcomes the chasm of IT silos to offer:

  • Centralized control of network state
  • Controller agnostic workload orchestration (physical and virtual) through open APIs and plug-ins
  • Turnkey offerings for automation, change-management and network-wide rollback use cases
  • Compliance Dashboard for Security and Audit
  • Workflow telemetry for cloud networks

Figure 1: The SDN Controller Landscape

Arista partners with Cloud Orchestrators and Network Overlay vendors while offering solutions for Fabric Underlay and Global Cloud Network Controllers via EOS CloudVision for universal workloads and workflow automation for private or hybrid cloud deployments.

Summary

CloudVision is the unshackling alternative to decades of ad hoc silos of proprietary vendor lock-ins. Arista is proud of our ecosystem partner solutions, including Dell, VMware NSX, Microsoft Windows Server, Palo Alto Networks, F5, HP, Infinera, Rackspace and Supermicro, all working with us to usher in a new era of networking reality. With the dramatic rise in cloud applications and leaf-spine-spline topologies, uniform workload automation and workflow orchestration is paramount. Gone are the days of tuning each and every application unwisely and inefficiently, the new era is here! As always, I welcome your views at feedback@arista.com.

References

Opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of Arista Networks. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Arista Networks or any other party.
Jayshree Ullal
Written by Jayshree Ullal
As President and CEO of Arista for a decade, Jayshree Ullal is responsible for Arista’s business and thought leadership in cloud networking. She led the company to a historic and successful IPO in June 2014 from zero to a multibillion dollar business. Formerly Jayshree was Senior Vice President at Cisco, responsible for a $10B business in datacenter, switching and services. With more than 30 years of networking experience, she is the recipient of numerous awards including E&Y’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2015 and Barron’s “World’s Best CEOs” in 2018.

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