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Arista Aims Squarely At Cisco, Juniper With New Switching And Routing Platform

The new 7500R Series -- a combined switching and router platform designed to make cloud routing as scalable and simple as data center switching -- is something customers have been asking for, says one Arista partner.

Red-hot networking startup Arista Networks is aiming to disrupt the $41 billion switching and router market – and leader Cisco Systems -- with a new platform targeting cloud service providers and next-generation enterprise data centers.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company Tuesday launched its 7500R Series, a combined switching and router platform designed to make cloud routing as scalable and simple as data center switching. The architecture, dubbed "Universal Spine," creates a new option for customers compared with a traditional core router, said Andrew Fisher, CEO of Myriad Supply, a New York-based solution provider and Arista partner that's ranked No. 289 on the CRN 2015 Solution Provider 500 list.

"We've had clients that have been asking us about this for some time now, so we're definitely incorporating this into our portfolio immediately," said Fisher. "The Web 2.0-type companies, the 'X' as-a-service companies and some of our data center clients have been inquiring about it already."

[Related: Robbins Shakes Up Cisco's Engineering Business: 8 Things You Need To Know ]

The 7500R builds upon Arista's 7500E Series of modular switches and provides 100GbE density and large table sizes in a single chassis. The architecture is based on Broadcom silicon and is enhanced with routing code from Arista's Extensible Operating System.

The new series includes the vendor's FlexRoute software that supports up to 1 million routes with MPLS, segment routing and Ethernet virtual private network protocol support. Pricing for the 7500R series starts at $3,000 per 100GbE port.

Arista did not respond to a request for comment by press time. The company’s entrance into the routing market, however, comes after a strong overall showing last year, in which the company reported revenue of $838 million for fiscal year 2015, ended Dec. 31, up 43 percent compared with 2014.

In Cisco's most recent quarter, the networking giant saw a drop in revenue in switching revenue, which fell 4 percent to $3.48 billion; and its data center business, which declined 3 percent to $822 million.

Cisco declined to comment on Arista's entrance into the market.

Myriad Supply’s Fisher said it's possible that Arista's new architecture could disrupt Cisco as well as Juniper Networks in the long term.

"The way that [Arista] disrupted the switching market was they picked a very specific vertical, which was finance at the time, and just built a product that was custom-designed for the needs of that market. So if they are able to make a dent, it's going to be one vertical at a time," said Fisher.

Cisco owns a massive 69 percent of the worldwide enterprise routing market and 61 percent of the enterprise switching shares, according to recent data from Synergy Research Group. Worldwide switching and router revenue hit $41 billion in 2015, up 3 percent from 2014, with most of the growth coming from enterprise switching, according to Synergy Research.

On the service provider side, Cisco owns 42 percent of the worldwide routing market, followed by Juniper, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei, which all own double-digit percentage shares, according to Synergy Research.

"Despite challenges on a variety of fronts, Cisco is successfully maintaining its position as the dominant supplier of switching and router technology with revenues about seven times the size of its nearest rival," said Jeremy Duke, founder of Synergy Research Group.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco and Arista have also been battling it out in court since 2014, with Cisco saying the startup infringed on a number of its patents and had stolen Cisco-copyrighted material. Cisco is ultimately trying to halt the import of Arista products.

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