Arista Networks enters the routing market

It’s no secret that Arista has in the past focused on data centre switching. As of late, this constellation has changed with the release of the 7500R series in March 2016, because Arista is now also targeting the routing market. The most recent technological developments in the data centres mean that Arista also has to implement routing functionality which it does with its R-Series. The requirements for the development of a stable and scalable routing code are immense. It is evident that there is uncertainty in the market, as to whether Arista’s routing platform is truly capable.

Due to this uncertainty, we decided as an independent service integrator to investigate the routing functionality of the R-Series in our XT³Lab. Our test results help us to competently advise our customers and ensure that they have all the necessary facts for a rational investment decision.

 

“R” means Routing

Arista’s R-Series consists of the 7020R, 7280R and 7500R series, where only the 7280R (Universal Spine) and 7500R (Universal Leaf) are capable of capturing a complete copy of the Internet Routing Table. This is made possible by Arista’s FlexRoute Engine, which enables the built-in Jericho chipset from Broadcom to handle the full Internet route table. Arista also has sufficient capacity to grow the routing table, which requires multi-year investment protection. The 7280R series is available in a variety of designs and supports up to 60 x 100GbE ports in 2U rack space.

The new 7500R2 line cards for the 7500R series and the new 7280R2 chassis have continued to be optimised over the past year, further increasing scalability with the use of Broadcom’s Jericho+ chipset. Both the 7280R and 7500R series offer a great deal of flexibility due to their excellent 100G Ethernet port density and great Layer2 and Layer3 functionality (e.g. OSPF, IS-IS, BGP or BFD).

 


 

Why are interoperability and feature tests important?

Most networks will continue to have a mix of hardware from a wide range of manufacturers, making interoperability of all these systems essential. Because of the complexity, it is, therefore, necessary to perform interoperability and feature tests in test environments. These tests verify that you can successfully integrate the system into your infrastructure and that you can also count on all the features required today and for future use.

 

XT³Lab – our multi-vendor environment

The implementation of such tests is complicated and expensive, as it requires specific hardware and highly qualified personnel. We can map the infrastructure needed for such a test environment at Xantaro with our XT³Lab in Frankfurt.

Our Xantaro Technology, Testing & Training Lab – XT³Lab for short – is a unique test, development and training environment. Equipped with the latest technologies from our partners, it offers the optimal infrastructure to simulate complex network architectures and services, for performance measurements, interoperability tests, and for the development of new applications, education, and training.

 

Test bench: focus on service provider use

Our first focus was on verifying each feature of Arista’s EOS (Extensible Operating System) modular operating system using the 7280R device. In doing so, we focused on scenarios that are of particular interest to service providers. This includes a function test of IS-IS, OSPF, BGP, MPLS, QoS, firewall, multicast or management access.

We also analysed the scalability of the routing and switching table. Our IXIA hardware with various test profiles was used to generate prefixes and IP traffic. As such, we were able to test the convergence between Control and Data Plane with 700,000 IPv4 prefixes.

We examined interoperability between Cisco IOS, Cisco IOS XR, Juniper Junos, and Nokia SR-OS. We also tested essential routing functions including OSPF, ISIS, and BGP. We performed our tests on the following routing platforms:

  • Arista 7280 SR
  • Nokia 7750 SR
  • Juniper MX480
  • Cisco 7606
  • Cisco IOS XR VM

 

Passed: R-Series ensures routing functionality

The results of our investigation confirm Aristas EOS’s routing functionality and show that R does indeed stand for routing. For example, the FlexRoute Engine built into the 7280R and 7500R devices can process a current Internet Routing Table (as of 2018), distributing the processing load across the available resources.

From day one, Arista has developed its EOS operating system with a multi-process state-sharing architecture that is shared by all Arista products. Therefore, there is only one common code base and binary image for all Arista products, which is continuously evolving. Another advantage over competitors is that EOS does not have legacy issues in the routing code.

 



Aristas EOS Architecture
 

Concerning programmability and expandability, Arista EOS provides tremendous potential for current developments. For example, a native JSON-based API (eAPI) is provided or native on-box scripting in Go and Python is possible. We are happy to assist you with the automation of your network operation and connection to your systems.

 

Attractive 100G port density

Due to the attractive pricing for its 100G port density compared to competitors, Aristas 7280R and 7500R series are particularly appealing to our customers. However, it is critical to check which routing functionality is required in your network, today and moving forward, as Arista has not implemented all features. Some features are not yet supported or on any official roadmap.

We use the knowledge gained from the interoperability and feature tests to provide competent advice to our customers. If you are interested in Aristas R-Series, please use the contact form and consult us for more information.

 


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