SAN JOSE, Calif. – Arista Networks tapped Broadcom chips to deliver a new high-end switch that packs up to 96 100-Gbit Ethernet ports. The 7500E was the first of a flood of new switches and routers announced in the run up to the annual Interop conference, each competing to offer the most muscular hardware with the most flexible virtualization software.
Arista claimed the 7500E beats all competitors in delivering the ultra-dense systems that big Web 2.0 data center require. Hewlett-Packard said it was further ahead in delivering a broad package of support for network virtualization based on the emerging OpenFlow standard.
Long term, the move to virtualization based on software-defined networks (SDNs) could be the most disruptive trend for router and switch makers. The approach promises radically simpler and lower costs networks, but it likely will take years to deliver given the complexity and proprietary nature of today’s gear.
Arista’s 7500E packs up to 30 Tbits aggregate bandwidth in an 11U chassis. Its high-end line card sports 96 100G Ethernet ports that can be split using software into either 288 40G or 1,152 10G ports. It uses Broadcom 88650 switch chips and SR10 optics that enable links up to 150 meters over multi-mode fiber.
The price for such high performance is still steep. Arista charges $10,000 per 100G port which it claims is an order of magnitude lower than previous products.
“I am not aware of anyone hitting Arista's 100G density or price point at the moment,” said Alan Weckel, a senior analyst for Dell’Oro Group (Redwood City, Calif.).
Earlier this year, Arista founder Andy Bechtolsheim said silicon photonics promises to radically reduce the per-port price of 100G links. However he would not comment on when the technology will be commercially viable.