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Cisco Nexus 3548 switch vs. Arista 7150S switch family

"Also expected from Arista: unexpected creativity. The 7150 switches are the first devices that offer VXLAN termination in hardware."

Hershey, PA:   Thu, 9/20/12 - 1:55pm    View comments

Cisco Nexus 3548 Switch

Cisco Nexus 3548 switch information...

PRICE:   $41,000 around $854 per port

Arista 7150S Switch Family

Arista 7150S switch family information...

PRICE:   $12,995 around $541 per port

IP SpaceIvan PepelnjakCCIE #1354 Emeritus, Ivan Pepelnjak, blogged today:

Cisco Nexus 3548: A Victory for Custom ASICs?

"I had the opportunity to listen to Cisco's and Arista's product briefings, continuously experiencing a weird feeling of deja vu. The two switches look like twin brothers... but there are some significant differences between the two."


Yesterday, Pepelnjak blogged:

Arista launches the first hardware VXLAN termination device

"Also expected from Arista: unexpected creativity. Instead of providing a 40GE port on the switch that can be split into four 10GE ports with a breakout cable (like everyone else is doing), these switches group four physical 10GE SFP+ ports into a native 40GE (not 4x10GE LAG) interface. The 7150 switches are the first devices that offer VXLAN termination in hardware. Another goodie: you can run IEEE 1588 (Precision Time Protocol) on these devices to establish an extremely precise time base in your network, drifting only a few nanoseconds per day (precision clock module seems to be optional). Finally, 7150 switches can do NAT in hardware."


The Arista 7150S value advantages over the Cisco Nexus 3548:

  Arista 7150S Cisco Nexus 3548 Arista 7150S
Value Advantages
Low Latency
Yes — 350ns No 250ns (warp modes only) 700ns Predictability critical
Density Range
+ Local Storage
Yes — 24 - 64 & SSD No — 48 Only. No SSD Multiple Options
Advanced Forensics
and IPV6 Services
Yes No Clock, PTP, NAT and Monitoring for Accurate Application Analysis
Standards Based
Network Virtualization
Yes No Support for Multi-tenant cloud computing — VXLAN Not OTV and Tags
Flexible Forwarding
Silicon, Application
Switching with FX
Yes No Innovation Agility
Programmable OS Yes — Extensible OS No — IOS / NX-OS Software Defined Cloud Networking with Open APIs
Versatile Applications Yes — Multiple Markets No — HFT Only Cloud, HPC, Web2.0, HFT

Source: Arista Networks

According to a source who appears to be knowledgeable about both Cisco and Arista Networks:

"Arista conquered latency while others are now chasing what Arista did 4 years ago. When Arista did latency, Cisco said FCOE (which never materialized), when Cisco said TRILL/DCE, Arista delivered ECMP and MLAG. Now Cisco finally woke up to latency (that too special 'warp' modes for latency), well, the market has moved to application based latency and SDN...seems like Cisco's a day late and dollar short.

"Why is Cisco chasing Arista's market? The Arista 7148 has been shipping since 2008. Arista is now the market leader in Low Latency Ethernet via Arista's 7100 series (with what appears to be a 70-80% market share).

"The market in 2012 has evolved beyond the Low Latency HFT niche. Now those customers are demanding a single, versatile SDN platform for multiple applications such as HPC, Web2.0, Big Data, Cloud and HFT.

"Finally Brad, modern silicon has got to be flexible and modern software has got to be programmable. Arista is the only company that I know of with programmable software (Arista's EOS) and flexible silicon via Arista's partnership with Intel."

Related document:

White Paper: Intel Ethernet Switch FM6000 Series - Software Defined Networking

Related stories:

Features built into Intel Ethernet Switch FM6000 Series products

Cisco looks to one-up Arista, Juniper with Nexus 3548

Arista looks to ward off Cisco with new low-latency switch

Breaking the 200 nanosecond barrier with Algo Boost on the Nexus 3548

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