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Arista launches network automation tools for enterprises

Arista introduces network automation tools with enterprise features like network-wide rollback.

Arista Networks has introduced a software version of its CloudVision switch management system that contains network automation tools aimed at the data centers of mainstream enterprises.

The CloudVision virtual appliance, unveiled this week, contains a centralized representation of an entire physical network. This key feature provides a single point of integration for third-party software-defined networking (SDN) controllers.

CloudVision stores the current and previous network state, so an administrator who gets in trouble making changes can go back to the original state. "The network-wide rollback will be very appealing to mainstream network operations personnel," said Gartner analyst Andrew Lerner.

Such features could expand Arista's customer base, said Lerner. The company's core buyers are cloud service providers and financial services companies running large-scale data centers.

CloudVision includes automation tools to appeal to less sophisticated network operations. For example, the new product can automatically provision traffic across switches and manage code, configurations and scripts. CloudVision also handles configuration compliance and validation.

Other features include a systematic approach to managing all changes made to the network. The change controls prevent damage to applications.

CloudVision to get more tools

Arista plans to build other capabilities on top of CloudVision. "We have so much network-wide state available that we can continue to build on this platform in terms of new areas like analytics, further visibility and further automation," said Jeff Raymond, product manager for Arista's EOS Platform. EOS is the company's switch operating system.

Arista does not sell servers, firewalls or controllers like its largest rival Cisco. Therefore, the smaller company depends on partners to fill the gaps.

CloudVision supports cloud orchestration tools from Hewlett-Packard, Rackspace and Red Hat; network security from Palo Alto Networks and F5 Networks; workflow software from ServiceNow; and the overlay controller from VMware.

"The expanded partner ecosystem is consistent with Arista's agnostic approach, which is key when competing with Cisco," Lerner said.

Arista sells CloudVision through a software subscription that starts at $295 per device per month. CloudVision is designed for Arista switches.

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