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Arista CloudVision gets network analytics boost

The latest Arista CloudVision upgrade has analytics and real-time data collection, which are expected to improve network troubleshooting and security.

Arista Networks Inc. has introduced a CloudVision upgrade that lets companies collect state data continuously from an Arista switching fabric and analyze the gathered information to pinpoint events damaging network performance.

Arista plans to release the latest version of its switch management system in the fourth quarter. Arista CloudVision customers will get the new features through a software upgrade, the company said on Tuesday.

CloudVision currently does not collect network state information. Instead, it talks to Arista switches via the API in their network operating system, called EOS, for tasks like configuration provisioning, software upgrades and other types of change management. The latest version of CloudVision contains an Arista-built central repository, called NetDB, for storing real-time event data from Arista switches. NetDB, which stands for Network Database, should not be confused with Network Tracking Database, also called NetDB, which is open source software used to manage switches from rivals Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Juniper Networks.

An Arista-built analytics engine presents the gathered information in a visual format that network engineers can use to troubleshoot problems. Security companies that have partnered with Arista can also use the data in products that look for network events that indicate a vulnerability or exploit.

Arista is targeting the CloudVision upgrade at companies with cloud computing environments at a smaller scale than those of the largest internet companies, such as Facebook and Microsoft, which are Arista customers. Those companies are expected to use Arista's APIs to bring the NetDB-collected data into their homegrown management software.

Arista CloudVision's latest features are likely to appeal to companies without the resources to build their tools. Those companies would include financial institutions, large mainstream enterprises and second-tier service providers.

"As Arista grows [its] customer base beyond the advanced DIY [do-it-yourself] crowd, they need to offer more turnkey solutions, and this announcement helps with this," said Andrew Lerner, an analyst at Gartner.

Features that would appeal to companies that want the vendor to do the heavy lifting include Arista's Workstream Analytics Viewer. The CloudVision front end provides views of events, device status and network metrics. In addition, there's a timeline view for historic troubleshooting.

Arista CloudVision gets OpenConfig support

The Arista CloudVision upgrade also places the vendor among the growing number of suppliers supporting OpenConfig, a vendor-neutral data model for configuring and managing network hardware and software.

"OpenConfig is an early stage technology with a high degree of promise," Lerner said. "To date, there is limited, but growing, support for OpenConfig amongst mainstream networking vendors, and Arista supporting OpenConfig is important."

Broad vendor adoption of OpenConfig would make it easier to integrate heterogeneous network management and automation tools. Arista limits its use of OpenConfig because of the immaturity of the standard, said Jeffrey Raymond, the vice president of product and services at Arista. Arista will expand its use of the specification as the industry adopts it for more types of state information generated by network devices.

The latest version of CloudVision will play nicely with more types of data center applications. Arista has added to the product integration with IT operations management tools from HPE, SAP and VMware. Arista is also providing integration with Veriflow's network security auditing and compliance software.

Arista sells CloudVision in hardware or as a virtual appliance, which the company introduced last year.

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