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Arista provides DCI hardware to 7500E spine switch

Arista has released DCI hardware for its 7500E spine switch. The line card adds another use case for the highly programmable switch.

Arista Networks has introduced technology that adds data center interconnect (DCI) capabilities to its 7500E spine switch, creating what the company says is a less expensive alternative to a separate DCI device.

The DCI hardware released this week is a six-port 100 Gbps line card that slides into the modular switch. The card provides MACsec encryption to secure data.

Customers that use the optional card will get the capabilities they need without having to learn how to use another device, said Jeffrey Raymond, vice president of product management and services at Arista.

"This is very much building on top of what we already have, so customers can leverage our platform more broadly," he said.

The card uses dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology that puts data from different sources onto an optical fiber. The DCI can transmit traffic to a data center up to 5,000 kilometers away. The card costs $42,000 per port or $117,000 with optics.

Box, a provider of online storage and collaboration software, is using 7500E switches with the new line card, said Arista.

Meeting the demands of the growing DCI hardware market

Arista introduced the hardware the same day Cisco added DCI-capable switches with 100 Gbps interfaces to its portfolio of Network Convergence Systems for service providers. Other networking vendors focused on the DCI market include Infinera Corp., BTI Systems Inc., Ciena Corp., Alcatel-Lucent S.A. and Fujitsu Network Communications Inc.

Buyers of the technology include large cloud providers that need "optical point-to-point connections with no special modulation software functionality and no OTN [optical transport network] switching," said Nav Chander, an analyst at IDC Research Inc., based in Framingham, Mass.

Communication service providers are also users of the technology. Their focus is on connecting metro data centers with technology that includes high-performance router-to-router interconnections, Chander said.

The demand for DCI is expected to grow, according to IDC. "The adoption of private and hybrid cloud will accelerate that trend, with many enterprises looking for DCI between their data centers and cloud data centers," said IDC analyst Brad Casemore.

Other new 7500E technologies make the VXLAN encapsulation protocol available for running an overlay network that extends Layer 2 services across data centers. The VXLAN capabilities are also meant to prevent customers from having to look for third-party products.

Equinix Inc., a data center services provider based in Redwood City, Calif., uses the VXLAN interconnection technology in the company's peering service. Called Internet Exchange, the service is for companies that need high reliability and speed on the Internet.

Next Steps

Choosing a DCI WAN optimization vendor

Cloud balancing traffic through DCIs

Stretching Layer 2 networks within DCIs

Dig Deeper on Data center interconnect