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New Arista switches offer 25/100 GbE for large data centers

The latest Arista switches are 25/100 GbE hardware designed to provide a smooth migration from systems with less bandwidth. The new gear is for companies with large data centers.

Arista Networks, a switch supplier to companies with large cloud data centers, has introduced 25/100 Gigabit Ethernet switches designed to provide a smooth migration from less powerful Arista systems.

The vendor, which unveiled the latest hardware this week, said it built within the 7050X and 7260X series support for existing features in Arista hardware to reduce conflicts between older systems and the new gear. The 7050X3 is an enterprise or carrier top-of-rack switch, while the 7260X3 is for leaf-spine data center networks used in large cloud environments.

"[The new hardware] is not meant to be earth-breaking; it's not meant to be mind-blowing," said Martin Hull, senior director of product management at Arista. Instead, the Arista switches offer an installation process that is "nice and smooth."

Arista has built the products for cloud providers, tier-one and -two service providers, high-tech companies and financial institutions, which are the vendor's top customer verticals. Arista customers include Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.

Many of those companies are gradually replacing 40 Gigabit Ethernet and 100 GbE ports with 25 GbE and 100 GbE to accommodate growing bandwidth demands within data centers. Much of that growth is due to digitizing business operations; big data projects, such as machine learning and analytics; and providing more video and mobile services.

In 2017, bandwidth demand drove a threefold increase in the number of 25 GbE and 100 GbE switching ports year over year, according to London-based IHS Markit. Overall Ethernet switching revenue rose 13% to $11.4 billion.

Along with feature consistency, the new switches carry a couple of new capabilities Arista said customers would appreciate. The features, which are in Arista's Extensible Operating System, include automated load balancing and network address translation designed to lower latency.

Speeds and feeds in new Arista switches

The 7050X3 is a 1RU system that comes in two configurations: 32 100 GbE ports or 48 10/25 GbE and 12 40/100 GbE ports. The former, which shipped in the first quarter, has a throughput of 6.4 Tbps, while the latter, which ships in the second quarter, can handle up to 4.8 Tbps of traffic.

The switch has 32 MB of buffering distributed across the ports through a shared pool. The architecture results in better handling of traffic bursts, Hull said.

Power consumption is 7 watts per 100 GbE port, which is less than older models in the 7050X series. A Broadcom Trident 3 programmable chip powers the system.

The 7260X3 is a 2RU system with 64 100 GbE ports, 12.8 Tbps of throughput and 42 MB of shared buffering. Companies can configure the ports for 10 GbE, 25 GbE, 40 GbE or 50 GbE to fit existing environments.

The system, which shipped in the first quarter, relies on a Broadcom Tomahawk II programmable chip.

Pricing for the latest Arista switches is roughly $800 per 100 GbE port.

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