Arista debuts high-capacity datacentre switch

The company's 7500 switch, targeted at datacentre aggregation, offers up to 384 10GbE ports in an 11 rack unit chassis, with 40GbE and 100GbE promised for the future
Written by Manek Dubash, Contributor

Arista Networks has introduced a 10Gb Ethernet switch that is denser and promises to consume less power than competing datacentre networking products.

The Arista 7500, launched on Monday, is an 11 rack unit-high chassis-based switch that slots in at the top of the company's existing range of 1GbE and 10GbE switches. It uses the same Asic technology, from Fulcrum Microsystems, as the company's existing 7048 stackable 10GbE switch.

Aimed at datacentre networks' aggregation layers, the modular 7500 competes primarily with Cisco's Nexus 7000 series, as well as with switches from Brocade, Extreme Networks, Force10 Networks and Juniper Networks. Arista is targeting the switch platform at cloud computing, virtualisation and datacentre workloads key to business operations.

"The new megaswitch is a very nicely designed, datacentre-focused, switching platform that hits a great price point and even better power point," said industry analyst Michael Howard, founder of Infonetics Research. "They are hitting the datacentre market with a next-generation machine just as the high-end datacenters need to move to next-generation architectures."

The chassis can accept up to eight blades, each of which carries 48 10GbE ports, for a total of 384 ports. Arista's marketing director Mark Foss said that the switch offers full redundancy, including dual power supplies and duplicated management modules.

"The control plane is on the management engines, and the data plane is on the line cards," Foss said. He added that the chassis will accept 40GbE and 100GbE cards when these become available. Cisco has promised to do the same for its Nexus 7000.

Foss said that the switch's airflow is from front to back, which allows datacentre managers to use the standard hot aisle/cold aisle datacentre configuration for improved cooling. Arista uses a perforated faceplate to reduce the space consumed on the front of the switch and to help increase its density.

Power consumption is now a big issue for datacentre networking equipment. Arista quotes the 7500 as consuming 13.2W per port, compared with the Cisco Nexus 7010's 19W per port. Rival Extreme Networks's 8810 consumes 7W per port. The 7500 supports up to 384 ports in an 11 rack unit-high chassis, compared with up to 512 ports in 21 rack units for Cisco's Nexus 7000 chassis, or 192 ports in 14 rack units for Extreme Networks's 8810.

The entry-level price for the 7500 is about £96,000, with a list price per port of approximately £830 for a fully loaded system.

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