Arista Networks enters the enterprise campus switching market segment with a new architecture and a set of new products.

Arista is a key player in the datacenter(DC) network market segment with market leadership position in the 100G market segment.  It is also one of the players in the  service provider routing market segment.  Now Arista enters the enterprise campus switching market using its datacenter networking products.

Some of Arista’s enterprise DC customers are already using Arista’s switches in their campus networks because they wanted to apply the datacenter best practices in their campus networks. They seem to prefer the centralized Cloud Vision network management software and the benefits Arista’s EOS provides, such as programmability, modularity, debuggability, visibility, and simplicity.  Arista hopes that the extended enterprise community might also be interested in its DC grade switches, EOS, Cloud Vision software and datacenter best practices, for their campus networks.

Moreover, Arista wants to address the adjacent market segments using its existing DC products to create additional revenue and growth opportunities. This is not the first time Arista has done this. It did so few years ago when it introduced routing products (modified version of its DC switches) for the service provider segment.

How is Arista able to enter the campus market segment with its DC products ?
  • Arista calls the 3 tier architecture of today’s campus networks – access, aggregation and core – a legacy architecture unfit for next-gen campus needs.
  • Arista is proposing a new campus architecture and calls it the next generation architecture.  The new architecture is based on the single-tier “spline” architecture that Arista’s enterprise DC customers typically use.
  • Arista claims that the data center architectures and operational principles apply well to campus networks as well.  Arista says its single-tier spline architecture and its 10, 25, 40 and 100Gig datacenter products would fit the current and future needs of the campus networks.
What new products were announced ?

 Three products were announced:

  1. 7300X3 – Modular Chassis  with 10, 25, 40, or 100 gig ports

  2. 7050X3 – Fixed Form with 10, 25, 40, or 100 gig ports

  3. Cognitive Cloud Vision with Cognitive Management Plane – A centralized controller software to configure, control and manage campus networks.

How Arista enters the campus market without PoE, VoIP, 1Gig ports and WiFi  products in its portfolio ?

Arista has partnered with Aruba, part of HPE, to fill these gaps in its product portfolio for the proposed campus network solution.

Does it mean the campus customers need to use two or more network management software to manage its multi-vendor sourced campus networks ?

The answer is ‘Yes and No’.  Arista claims that its Cognitive Cloud Vision software with Cognitive Management Plane could inter-operate with its partner management applications using open, vendor neutral API’s and standards based models such as OpenConfig.

However, Aruba’s management plane software and VMware Pulse IoT Centre software are proprietary closed architecture solutions.

It is not clear, how these different applications have been stitched together to provide a single window to the customer to manage their campus network.

How about managing IoT devices in the campus ?

Arista has partnered with VMware for this solution.  VMware’s Pulse IoT Center will be used to manage the IoT devices in the enterprise.  Again this IoT controller will be interacting with the Cognitive Cloud Vision using the Cognitive Management Plane as mentioned above.

Again, it is not clear, how these different applications have been stitched together to provide a single window to the customer to manage their campus network.

Where can I find a video demo of the solution ?

None available in the public domain, as of today.

Is it available for GA now ?

No. It’s in trials now at few qualified customers’ facility.  General Availability begins in Q3, 2018.

Were there any new channel partner announcements made along with this announcement ?

None.

What is the impact of Arista’s announcement on the enterprise campus market segment ?

For the immediate future, I believe, Arista is trying to gain the mindshare and not the market share in this segment.  It would take few more years before it could grab any meaningful market share from Cisco and others in this segment. Probably, Arista is trying to reach out to the “Early Adopters” in this market segment.

Typically, enterprise customers, unlike cloud DC customers, look for a complete turnkey solution preferably sourced from a single vendor.  Enterprise customers do not have the sophistication, skill set and budget of a cloud DC customer to configure, run and manage a network built out of multi-vendor products.  It is not clearly evident how Arista and its partners have put together a glitch-free, turnkey solution.