Arista Networks has launched another assault on Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) by announcing CloudVision, a software package that enables software-based network provisioning and control as well as integration between Arista‘s EOS networking operating system and industry-standard software-defined networking (SDN) controllers offered by Cisco’s competitors.
CloudVision, announced today, will be sold as a software add-on to EOS, Arista‘s operating system. It provides management tools for Arista’s switching hardware using cloud techniques such as virtualization and DevOps-style automation, enabling network managers to set up provisioning and configuration scripts that can be adapted network-wide. Most importantly, it provides an integration path between Arista and two of the leading SDN“overlay” solutions, Nuage and VMware NSX.
Arista’s pitch is that CloudVision becomes a “single point of control” for the network that bridges the gap between SDN controllers and Arista’s physical hardware. It’s also an interesting strategic move, as Arista is aligning itself more tightly with VMware and Nuage, saying this represents a more open path than a more proprietary controller technology such as Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC).
Arista officials say that many network managers hear the automation and DevOps stories from the cloud world, but do not have the resources, tools, or skills to implement them in the same way that Facebook can. That’s the gap CloudVision is designed to fill.
This means the product is targeted at small-to-mid range enterprise networking shops, rather than larger scale cloud players, which tend to build their own customized infrastructure.
Another big question: Does this mean that Arista Networks has an SDN controller strategy? Jeff Raymond, the VP of EOS Product Management and Services with Arista, said that CloudVision is leveraging existing open controllers in the industry. “We are not afraid to consider it [CloudVision] a member of the controller family.”
This is an important development as all the networking hardware and SDN software players jostle for position. Arista has been one of the faster growing network hardware players, but one of the consistent hits against the company has been that it isn’t an SDN play. CloudVision gives Arista a more pointed SDN story, for both investors and customers alike. The product is software-only and will be licensed at $295 per networking devices, with enterprise and site licensing models as well. It’s shipping now.
“We believe EOS is a front-runner and it’s an open programmable platform,” said Raymond. “The challenge is that very few companies have the ability to leverage EOS. What we are trying to do is bring the benefits, programming and scripting. This definitely extends our SDN offering.”
Arista officials said that several customers are beta testing CloudVision, but no customers have been publicly announced. Technology partners endorsing CloudVision include Dell, F5 Networks, HP, Palo Alto Networks, Rackspace, Red Hat, and Supermicro.