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Arista CloudVision gets campus Wi-Fi management

Arista will have to do more than wrap its Mojo Wi-Fi infrastructure into the Arista CloudVision management console to catch Cisco and HPE Aruba in campus networking.

Arista has brought Wi-Fi management to CloudVision, adding a wireless component to the software console that administers a network fabric stretching across the data center, campus and public cloud.

The company said this week it had rolled into Arista CloudVision the cloud-based management features that came with the recent acquisition of Wi-Fi infrastructure vendor Mojo Networks. The purchase brought the access-layer infrastructure Arista needed to compete with Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Aruba for the growing number of companies accessing the internet through wireless networks.

Besides wrapping Mojo into Arista CloudVision, the vendor also added device analytics for wired and wireless networks. The latest component, called Device Analyzer, identifies mobile and IoT devices connected to the network and lists their operating systems and the applications running on top. Device Analyzer does not record the version of the software.

Device Analyzer also has a security component, said Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, based in Boulder, Colo. "It inventories and baselines the activity of all devices connected to the network, then alerts on anomalies that could be a security event."

Arista falls short in campus networking

Many analysts agreed Mojo's analytics and cloud-based management features provide Arista with a competitive Wi-Fi offering. However, Arista will need more in campus networking to lure customers away from established enterprise vendors, such as Cisco and HPE Aruba.

"It seems like the bulk of Arista's value proposition can be implemented using either Cisco or HPE Aruba, as well," said Mark Hung, an analyst at Gartner. "This [Mojo acquisition] does not pose a significant threat to Cisco or HPE Aruba, but existing Arista clients may take a closer look."

Even with Mojo, Arista's campus networking portfolio has holes when compared with that of Cisco or HPE. The company does not have edge access switches or a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) product. A growing number of enterprises are deploying SD-WAN to manage and route traffic from the WAN's edge to the internet.

"To become a contender for taking market share away from some of the other competitors, they will need to have a complete portfolio at the edge," said Rohit Mehra, an analyst at IDC.

To date, Arista has focused on spreading the Extensible Operating System (EOS) that powers the company's switches into as many computing environments as possible.

Last year, Arista launched a virtualized version of EOS for AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud. At the same time, the company upgraded Arista CloudVision to manage Arista switching from the data center to the cloud.

In May, Arista introduced two campus LAN switches equipped with telemetry and analytics to help IT administrators diagnose problems in the wired network. The spline switches simplified campus networking by collapsing the commonly used three-tier leaf-spine architecture into a single tier.

Mojo cloud-managed Wi-Fi

With Mojo, Arista adds cloud-managed Wi-Fi for large enterprise networks, as well as college campuses and K-12 schools. Mojo's strengths lie in its cloud-based machine learning and big data platform that tracks over 300 key performance indicators for its Wi-Fi network, according to Gartner.

Mojo bases its machine learning technology on cognitive computing techniques that sort through device and network packet data to identify patterns and establish relationships to help engineers troubleshoot problems, said Rick Wilmer, who joined Arista after serving as CEO at Mojo.

Another strength in Mojo technology is its ability to create a copy of a customer's network in the cloud to test configuration changes and code revisions in an isolated computing environment, called a sandbox, Gartner said.

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