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Arista simplifies network management in latest CloudVision

Arista's CloudVision 2021 has better analytics for spotting network congestion and a dashboard for monitoring Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Google Workspace and other applications.

Arista Networks' latest update of CloudVision simplifies using the software for cloud-based network management. It also has tools for reducing the IT complexity brought by remote workers.

A key enhancement in the CloudVision 2021 upgrade, introduced this week, is a graphical user interface. The GUI provides a three-step process for reviewing, validating and approving configuration changes to an Arista switching fabric in the data center or the campus.

The GUI is part of CloudVision's new Studios component. Studios also contains built-in workflows for typical configuration-related tasks, such as templating for campus network buildout. Other duties simplified in Studios include adding incremental network capacity and fundamental day-to-day changes requested by a help desk. Network managers can configure Studios to automate daily operational tasks.

Overall, Arista has made CloudVision "simpler to use," said Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Bob Laliberte. "It's easier to access and easier to use with GUI-based management."

Arista's efforts to ease CloudVision complexity are a response to competitors Cisco and Juniper Networks. Both have cloud-based software -- Meraki and Mist, respectively -- that offer simplicity as a competitive advantage.

Corporate demand for cloud-based network management is heavy. An Enterprise Strategy Group survey of 664 senior IT decision-makers found that 47% wanted to streamline their network operations via cloud-based network management software. That was the highest percentage of all the options for improving NetOps.

Along with simplifying CloudVision use, Arista has improved the product's AI-powered analytics for spotting network congestion hot spots and finding their root causes. The software does that by analyzing in-band network telemetry (INT) and feeding the results into new dashboards for monitoring network performance.

INT is an open framework that lets the network's data plane send telemetry data to an analytics engine. INT provides four types of information: the path a packet takes, the rules it follows, how long it queues at each switch, and what other packets share the queue.

CloudVision for application monitoring

CloudVision has a dashboard for monitoring video collaboration software like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The latest version scans up to 25 applications, including Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Workday and Salesforce. A new performance dashboard contains a root-cause analysis engine for client-specific views of an application, the network and radio frequency interference.

The focus on application performance and network congestion will help companies manage networks serving remote workers. Working from home increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysts expect the number of at-home workers to remain high even after the virus wanes.

The applications Arista is focused on for performance monitoring "are incredibly important in this work-from-home, work-from-anywhere environment that we're in," Laliberte said.

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget.

Antone Gonsalves is the news director for the Networking Media Group. He has deep and wide experience in tech journalism. Since the mid-1990s, he has worked for UBM's InformationWeek, TechWeb and Computer Reseller News. He has also written for Ziff Davis' PC Week, IDG's CSOonline and IBTMedia's CruxialCIO, and rounded all of that out by covering startups for Bloomberg News. He started his journalism career at United Press International, working as a reporter and editor in California, Texas, Kansas and Florida. He can be found on Twitter at @AntoneG.

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