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The Many Facets of Software-Defined Switching

Jayshree Ullal
by Jayshree Ullal on Sep 18, 2012 8:56:06 PM

In recent times many Software Defined Networking (SDN) advocates are seeking to establish a new paradigm of networking that better optimizes for applications in place of establishing simple connectivity. This software may be embedded in management controllers or protocols depending on the application. What is clear is developing and deploying modern software for next generation switching and routing is paramount. More importantly, the software has to be designed optimally for the applications, resilience and scale of cloud networking instead of legacy enterprise environments. It must coordinate its orchestration protocols in a highly distributed fashion, rather than create more coordination choke points between switches as legacy OS’s often do.

Upon recognizing the weakness of legacy switches and old monolithic switch operating system software, you end up discovering that we do not need to re-invent three decades of control plane networking again. Instead, the right answer is to build a highly distributed publish-subscribe model with standards-based open protocols, such as Arista’s Extensible OS (EOS). Like our 1500 customers, I am convinced that Arista EOS is the only advanced networking software designed from the ground up to properly tackle the operational problems of modern networking. It encompasses the powerful combination of openness, a modern control plane and programmability while preserving the distributed model that has brought us so far in internetworking.

Arista recognizes that there exists a set of customers for whom application performance and latency is critical. Utilizing the programmability and extensibility of EOS, Arista built the 7124FX, the industry’s first Application Switch. This industry first enables the integration of specific components of the application into the network, dramatically accelerating application performance by facilitating programmatic control of the data plane in real time. This product represents the first phase of Arista’s development of software-defined and controlled application acceleration switches.

Versatile SDN Switch for multiple applications:

Extending the value of the concepts pioneered by Arista with the 7124FX, I am excited to announce a unique turning point in the networking industry with Arista’s introduction of its unique best of breed platform for a flexible set of applications with uncompromised performance in one compact form factor. Showcased for the first time this week at the 2012 HPC for Wall Street Conference in New York, the Arista 7150 has many facets and many firsts, including:

1. First SDN Switch architected for leading-edge applications including Big Data, Cloud Networks, Financial Trading, HPC and Web 2.0 environments, based on a single Arista EOS image working across the entire family of Arista SDN switches with consistent feature evolution from the Arista 7100SX to the 7124FX to the 7150S with LANZ, AEM, sFlow and VM Tracer.

2. Industry leading accurate and predictable performance in a range of densities (deterministic high performance, lowest latency and jitter for all traffic, 24-64 ports, from 100Mbps to 40Gbps), and with consistent performance at scale without compromise.

3. Unprecedented balanced resources and deployment flexibility for "Any Application” suitability (100Mbps to 40Gbps, AgilePorts, robust buffering, large ACLs, Multicast, L2/3 tables for large-scale Web 2.0 cloud networks).

4. First network–wide virtualization platform for next generation cloud bursting support with wire speed VXLAN hardware-based Tunnel Endpoint termination, which enables end-to-end workload portability across L3 subnets while maintaining connections to all existing physical services such as storage, load balancers and security, and featuring VM visibility through VM Tracer.

5. First platform to support sub-microsecond Network Address Translation (NAT), enabling unshackled network extensions in Financial and Cloud environments.

6. First deterministic latency and high-performance 10GbE/ 40GbE switch and IEEE 1588 Platform for ultra-accurate time distribution in HPC and High Frequency Trading applications.

7. Advanced Forensics and Monitoring capabilities – redefining instrumentation, automation and analysis of high-end infrastructure (AEM, Advanced Mirroring, LANZ+, sFlow – designed for micro-scale visibility, automation and proactive management).

Delivered in a compact 1RU form factor, the Arista 7150 represents a significant milestone in providing uncompromised and flexible features and performance to our customers!

Welcome to another important Arista innovation in the new world of software-defined cloud networking. As always I welcome your comments at


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 over 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, Barron’s “World’s Best CEOs” in 2018 and one of Fortune’s “Top 20 Business persons” in 2019. Jayshree holds a B.S. in Engineering (Electrical) and an M.S. degree in engineering management. She is a recipient of the SFSU and SCU Distinguished Alumni Awards in 2013 and 2016.

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