How Arista’s New 7800R Series Enables Rapid Cloud Transformation

PRODUCT ANALYSIS: The R3 Series offers massive 400 Gig throughput and density, making it ideal for edge services.

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Arista is best known as a vendor that provides high-performance switching infrastructure for cloud providers, service providers and large enterprises that are building their own webscale data centers. The company also has line of switches that offer Internet scale L2 and L3 routing.

Arista's R Series, optimized for large virtualized and cloud networks, are the industry’s highest-performing universal spine switches that leverage Arista modernized network operating system, EOS, for routing capabilities.

Jericho2-based R3 Series brings high-density 400 Gig

This week, Arista announced the newest member to its R series of modular switches. The new R3 Series is based on Broadcom’s Jericho2 silicon. The new platforms support high density, cost effective 100 and 400 Gig Ethernet along with enhanced telemetry and intelligence integrated into the network making it ideal for many emerging use cases such as 5G and the ever-expanding edge computing market.

The use of merchant silicon has been hotly debated over the past few years. Makers of proprietary ASICs will say that vendors that rely on merchant aren’t able to deliver features other than the ones on chip and that’s been true for the majority of white box network suppliers. However, Arista has been masterful in its ability to deliver a number of advanced capabilities through its EOS software while maintaining the outstanding price/performance benefits of merchant silicon, giving customers a “best of both worlds” value proposition.

The R3 Series switches are excellent examples of Arista’s ability to drive innovation in software. The R3 Series includes the following products:

  • 7280R3 fixed form factor switches offers up to 48 x 400 Gig wire speed ports with 19.2 Tbps of non-blocking throughput.
  • 7500R3 is an upgrade to the existing 7500R. It delivers up to 288 x 400 Gig ports and is backwards compatible with 7500R and 7500R line cards for investment protection.
  • 7800R3 sets a new high bar for Arista with a capacity of 576 x 400 Gig ports and a total switching capacity of a whopping 460 Tbps and 96 billion packets per second.

All of the products can support up to 2.5 million internet routes. The current Internet routing table is about 1 million routes so R3 series customers have plenty of room for growth. The high density, 400 Gig capabilities can address high capacity cloud data centers routing requirements. The new R3 series also brings 4.8Tb of VoQ (virtual output queues), which is a 5x increase from the Jericho+ chip released only two years ago.

The R3, like previous R series is programmable at every layer for maximum flexibility.

Arista brings security, management innovation in software

Much of the Arista innovation comes in the areas of security and manageability including:

  • Inband Network Telemetry that measures latency per device and end to end latency, traces packets, reconstructs path topology and detects congestion. All the data is sent to Arista’s CloudVision portal for analytics and insight that can be used to improve network performance.
  • Improved Traffic Analysis with high rate SFlow and flow state streaming optimized for 100 and 400 Gig networks.
  • BGP Flowspec and IPFIX at 400 Gig and 100 Gig rates. The high capacity traffic filtering can be used to mitigate against DDoS attacks. This feature should be particularly compelling as the ability to drop bad traffic at the source can improve the efficiency of existing security tools.
  • Algorithmic ACLs. Without getting into the technical weeds, Arista uses a matching algorithm for policy based configurations. The result is faster, in memory lookups up to 100,000 rules that are significantly easier to provision and maintain removing many of the hurdles of using large amounts of ACLs.

The Jericho2 based R3 series is a strong addition to the existing family. It offers strong investment protection with no forklift upgrade from existing platforms. Also, the single operating system across the entire Arista product line means lower operational costs and standardized tools and processes.

The new products will begin shipping in Q3 of 2019.

Zeus Kerravala is an eWEEK regular contributor and the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. He spent 10 years at Yankee Group and prior to that held a number of corporate IT positions.