xy - Fotolia

Arista 25 GbE switches feed hungry hyperscale data centers

Arista introduces a portfolio of 25/50/100 GbE switches to meet the increasing demand for more throughput in hyperscale data centers.

Arista Networks Inc. has rolled out a portfolio of 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switches aimed at large enterprises demanding cost-effective, high-throughput, top-of-rack hardware for hyperscale data centers.

This week, the company introduced a family of fixed-leaf and modular spine switches, called the 7060X, 7260X and 7320X series. The products provide the choice of 25/50/100 GbE switching or the older option of 10/40/100 GbE.

Chipmaker Broadcom Corp. made 25 GbE switches possible with the release of the Tomahawk chipset last September. Arista is among the first vendors to ship product with the new hardware.

"Arista was one of the first proponents of 25 and 50 GbE," said Shamus McGillicuddy, analyst at Enterprise Management Associates Inc., based in Boulder, Colo. "This is fulfilling a promise they made to their customers last year."

Top-of-rack 25 GbE switches are on pace to replace their 10 GbE cousins in hyperscale data centers that have 10s of thousands -- and sometimes 100s of thousands -- of servers.

Companies operating these behemoths include large financial institutions and cloud service providers, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. The latter is an Arista customer, along with Internet giant Facebook.

Migration to 25 GbE

Companies that operate hyperscale data centers are quickly moving to the 25/50/100 GbE design, because it is more cost effective and power efficient. The switches accounted for only 10,000 port shipments last year, but are expected to soar to 12 million by 2018, according to San Francisco-based Crehan Research Inc.

"There is already pent-up demand for these products in the hyperscale cloud segment, which can drive rapid and large-volume ramps," said Seamus Crehan, president and founder of Crehan Research. He expects 25/50/100 GbE switches to be sold at a "small price-premium" over 10/40/100 GbE models.

Arista launched the portfolio with the release of three switches. The 7060CX-32S is a 1RU leaf switch, with an overall throughput of 6.4 Tbps that provides multiple speed options on all 32 ports. The 7260QX-64, with 5.12 Tbps of throughput, and the 7260CX-64, with a throughput of 12.8 Tbps, are 2RU systems with 64 ports.

Pricing for the 7060X and 7260X series starts at less than $1,000 per 100 GbE port.

In the fourth quarter, Arista plans to ship the 7320X-32C. The 7320X series are 32-port modular switches that can be combined into a single system of 256 ports.

Arista joins Cisco, Dell and China-based Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. in selling 25 GbE switches. Analysts expect other vendors to follow, as customer demand grows.

"I expect 25 GbE won't cost much more than 10 GbE and 100 GbE won't cost much more than 40 GbE," Crehan said. "Since each of these is 2.5 times more [throughput], this results in a very significant bandwidth discount."

Last summer, Arista joined Broadcom, Google, Mellanox Technologies and Microsoft in forming the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium to come up with specifications for 25 GbE and 50 GbE hardware. The group's goal was to make the cost of a 25 GbE switch equal to a 10 GbE model.

Next Steps

Dissecting the cost of top-of-rack switching

Purchasing criteria for data center-class switches

Sorting through the complexity of hyperscale data centers

Dig Deeper on Cloud and data center networking

Unified Communications
Mobile Computing
Data Center