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Arista Leading 100GbE Charge With 7280E Switch Series Launch

Arista Networks unveiled its 7280E series of fixed, top-of-rack switches that it says are the industry's first to feature 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) uplink ports.

Arista Networks this week took the wraps off a new series of fixed, top-of-rack switches that the networking vendor says are the first in the industry to feature 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) uplink ports.

The Arista 7280E Series, available next month, is a lineup of what Arista calls "leaf" switches, or data center switches that control the flow of traffic between servers. Arista also has a line of "spine" switches designed to forward traffic along the most optimal paths between Layer 2 and Layer 3 nodes.

The 7280E Series is the industry's first series of fixed switches that feature 100GbE uplink ports, allowing them to offer significantly faster throughput than competing switches with 40GbE ports, according to Martin Hull, Arista senior product line manager.

[Related: Arista Partners: Our Business Is Booming As Competition With Cisco Heats Up]

It's these 100GbE uplinks that make the 7280E switches ideal for high-end data centers that have deployed, or need to boost the performance of, bandwidth-hungry applications like video or big data analytics, Hull said.

"Instead of aggregating multiple ports of 40GbE, we actually have raw 100GbE in here and it's a more efficient technology for handling bandwidth-intensive applications," Hull told CRN.

Arista's 7280E series also has 9GB – or what Arista calls "ultra deep" – buffers, eliminating potential processing delays or data packets being dropped during spikes in network traffic.

"We believe this is yet another in a series of innovations from Arista," Hull said. "These switches with 100GbE uplinks in 2014 follows on the heels of us being one of the first companies to introduce 10GbE products with 40GbE uplinks … so, you know, we continue to show the way forward that other companies will follow in time."

Arista, founded in 2004, specializes in what it calls "cloud networking" for the data center. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company offers a range of low-latency, modular switches that are based on merchant silicon and run its own software called the Arista Extensible Operating System (EOS).

Arista, which went public earlier this year, is emerging as a top competitor to market incumbents like Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks, suggesting its Linux-based EOS makes its data center architectures more scalable, programmable and interoperable with third-party network management tools.

Jason Gress, co-founder and president of Santa Clara-based Arista partner InterVision Systems, said he expects Arista's 7280E switches to appeal particularly to InterVisions' larger-scale data center customers.

’Ethernet is rapidly evolving to 40 and 100GB throughput to provide modern large-scale applications with sufficient bandwidth to service users," Gress told CRN in an email. "The Arista 7280 switches are ideal for InterVision’s big data, OpenStack, video streaming, cloud models and massive storage-node customers. These applications also demand high visibility and customization, which are hallmarks of Arista's approach."

Arista currently has about 400 partners in North America, 100 of which came on board throughout the past year, the company told CRN in a recent interview. Arista partners, meanwhile, say they continue to see big growth in their Arista businesses, especially as the company continues to turn up the heat on competitors.

Arista also announced this week a new capability within EOS, called EOS Smart System Upgrade (SSU), that lets customers perform "hitless," or zero-downtime, software upgrades across their networks.

Arista also introduced the Arista Data Analyzer (DANZ) feature set, which provides real-time monitoring capabilities for its 7500E modular spine switches.


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