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AWS device cited as stepping stone to Amazon foray into HCI

This week, bloggers assess what Amazon's Snowball Edge really means when it comes to HCI, as well as discuss some of the new features of Arista's new leaf and spine switch.

Keith Townsend, an IT architect writing for The CTO Advisor, made what he called a "hyperbolic statement" on Twitter, claiming an AWS device -- Amazon Web Services Snowball Edge --is a direct competitor to Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure, or HCI.

Townsend's claim about the AWS device was intended as click-bait, but he used it to generate a conversation about the limited computing power of Snowball Edge, which extends the event-driven computing Greengrass platform to the edge of customer networks. Townsend compared its capabilities Cisco's term, fog computing, because Snowball Edge offers a similar overlay between public clouds and on-premises computing.

According to Townsend, the reason the AWS device is a challenge to Nutanix HCI is because it proves Amazon has the technical capacity to replace legacy infrastructure. "Snowball Edge doesn't compete against HCI directly. Like every other AWS service, Snowball Edge helps AWS compete against all on-premises compute options, including HCI," Townsend said.

Read more of Townsend's thoughts on the AWS device versus Nutanix HCI.

Taking a look behind the Equinix-Citrix deal

Drew Conry-Murray, blogging with Packet Pushers, reported on the November deal between Citrix and Equinix to provide SD-WAN for cloud access. The deal will allow customers to access Equinix Cloud Exchange and Performance Hub through Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN appliances. The vendors said they believe it is possible to boost the performance of cloud-based applications -- particularly for remote and branch offices -- by using Equinix's direct connection to software-as-a-service providers, such as Amazon and Microsoft.

The NetScaler SD-WAN is intended to link customers to Equinix facilities, allowing buyers to mix and match connectivity options, like broadband and MPLS. Conry-Murray cited special cases where buyers may be interested in the new options, such as headquarters or branch offices that need improved reliability and may choose a high-speed, low-latency private link. "Outside of such uses cases, however, this partnership will likely have limited appeal. But it does add a note to the steady drumbeat of SD-WAN's march on more traditional approaches to wide area networking," he said.

Dig deeper into Conry-Murray's thoughts on the new SD-WAN partnership.

Arista boosts switching

Greg Ferro, writing in EtherealMind, took a moment to address new technology being implemented on Arista switches, based on Cavium XPliant application-specific integrated circuits. The new offering from Arista includes forwarding tables that allow for more efficient use of common resources and "a higher maximum scale," he said. In addition, the forwarding tables allow greater segmentation and combination with 448,000 logical resources available to users.

Ferro outlined the switch's capabilities, which included general leaf and spine or options for larger hosts, such as Layer 2 overlays for VXLAN. In Ferro's view, the new Arista switch offers many benefits, including a system that performs the same in multiple scenarios, the ability to achieve higher scale, better resource usage to reduce power demand and the ability to sidestep scale limitations for fixed systems.

Explore more of Ferro's thoughts on the new Arista switches.

Next Steps

Taking a closer look at Amazon Web Services

Citrix boosts security with SD-WAN

Arista boosts leaf-spine switches for data centers

Dig Deeper on Cloud and data center networking

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