Early November seems to be the right time for data center product harvest: after last week’s Juniper launch, Arista launched its new switches on Monday. The launch was all we came to expect from Arista: better, faster, more efficient switches … and a dash of PureMarketing™ – the Splines.
Arista announced X-series switches with two product lines:
- 7250QX-64 Top-of-Rack switch with 64 40GE ports in a 2RU form factor – a third less than what Nexus 6004 delivers, but in half the space (Nexus 6004 is 4RU high);
- 7300-series modular switches with 4. 8 or 16 linecards, and having up to 512 40GE ports or 2048 10GE ports – almost twice as many as the 7500E models launched only half a year ago.
You can read more about the new hardware in John Herbert’s blog post.
One-Tier Data Center
Having a very-high-density modular switch, Arista’s marketing got creative – there’s no need for leaf-and-spine architectures if you can connect all the servers to a single pair of giant switches.
The idea is not new (and has a few limitations – more about them in an upcoming blog post). We’ve been using similar designs for years as most enterprise data centers these days don’t need more than a rack of high-density servers connected to two 10GE ToR switches anyway.
The only difference is the scale – you could connect around 50 servers to two ToR switches (you have to dedicate some ports to inter-server links, storage devices and external connectivity), now you can build a 2-switch network with forty times as many servers.
But Wasn’t QFabric a One-Tier Data Center?
Definitely – at least from the marketing perspective. QFabric is a single management entity, but it’s still a traditional leaf-and-spine architecture with 1:3 oversubscription and 3 hops across the network (five if you count internal Clos fabric in interconnect nodes). Arista is the first vendor that allows you to build a one-tier (maybe I should write one hop) line-rate network connecting 1000+ servers.
Source: Wikimedia Commons