Arista, ExtraHop Unveil Joint Architecture For SDN Monitoring

The integrated solution, called the ExtraHop-Arista Persistent Monitoring Architecture, delivers what the companies call real-time and cross-tier visibility into dynamic or virtualized data center environments. According to Erik Giesa, senior vice president, marketing and business development at ExtraHop, the new architecture differs from traditional network monitoring tools in that it's capable of providing visibility across multiple layers of abstraction in a data center.

"The whole principle of [software-defined networking] is network abstraction, so that you can drive greater centralized intelligence and programmability," Giesa told CRN. "But we already have server and application abstraction, storage and database abstractions, and now we have network abstraction. So with more layers of abstraction and the ability to program ... the old ways [of monitoring] just don't work."

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Giesa said the ExtraHop-Arista Persistent Monitoring Architecture, which both companies are showcasing at VMware's VMworld event taking place this week in San Francisco, is based on Arista's SDN and cloud networking architecture and ExtraHop's Context and Correlation Engine (CCE).

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The way it works, Giesa said, is that the Arista architecture directs all network traffic to ExtraHop's CCE, which then takes that traffic data and analyzes it in real-time. The solution dynamically adapts to changes in the data center and can automatically discover, classify and map dependencies of all applications while also monitoring their performance, Giesa said. The auto-discovery of virtual and physical servers is also possible.

"As product traffic is happening, at the same time, a copy of that traffic is being sent to [ExtraHop] for real-time analysis," Giesa said. "We are down to the second-level. This isn't a delay. What you see in our UI is what’s actually going on in the environment right now."

The ExtraHop-Arista Persistent Monitoring Architecture can also be used to provide visibility into the deployment and migration of virtual machines across the data center, the companies said.

John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and ExtraHop partner, said the new Persistent Monitoring Solution will deliver "incredible visibility" into SDN environments.

"To me, this is a very elegant way of tying meaningful data off of my network back into my network -- kind of a closed-loop system, in a sense -- and to have my SDN paradigm have a much richer feature set of data to use to make intelligent decisions," Woodall said. "That's where I see the value of this partnership."

ExtraHop, founded in 2007, told CRN it has about 60 solution provider partners worldwide. This joint architecture with Arista, according to Tom Estep, director, channel sales at ExtraHop, will enable both ExtraHop and Arista partners to move with "confidence" into the SDN space, selling a pre-integrated monitoring solution.

"Arista's channel is really activating and lighting up at the same pace that ours is, and we are growing our channel resources and sales resources and engineering resources at a very similar pace," Estep said. "So the timing of this joint solution, and being able to go to our mutual partners to deliver this message about how you can sell ExtraHop and Arista together ... and sell a solution that already snaps together, and sell it with confidence, is a really powerful message."