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October 23, 2008
Arastra, a startup that introduced its high-performance 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switches in 2007, has changed its name to Arista Networks, and with it, comes a new focus on the emerging cloud computing market. The company has tapped former Cisco VP Jayshree Ullal as the president and CEO, and Arista co-founder Andreas (Andy) Bechtolsheim as the chief development officer and chairman. Bechtolsheim, who also co-founded Sun Microsystems, will give up his position there as chief architect, but remain on as a part-time advisor.
Bechtolsheim, along with chief scientist David Cheriton, co-founded Arista and are providing all funding necessary to get the company off the ground. Through the years, both men have accumulated considerable wealth through shrewd investments in technology startups, and are each thought to be billionaires today.
Bechtolsheim and Cheriton were two of Google's original investors, each reportedly investing $100,000 in the search company startup in the late 1990s. They're not revealing how much has been invested in Arista, but their commitment is to fund the company until it goes public. "We're re-investing some of our Google proceeds in what we think is a very promising new opportunity," Bechtolsheim told me.
Their competition includes Cisco, with its new Nexus 5000 10 GbE switches, as well as similar gear from Force 10, Extreme Networks, Fijitsu and Blade Network Technologies. In general, these are more full-featured boxes, offering support for additional protocols such as FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) and DCE (Data Center Ethernet). The added functionality tends to make these general-purpose switches more expensive, and superfluous for Arista's target domain: ultra-scale datacenter applications.
A couple of weeks ago, Woven Systems introduced the TRX 200, a 24-port 10 GbE switch that matches up pretty well with Arista's 7124S switch. And unlike the rest of the competition, the cost of Woven's switches are more in line with the $400 per port pricing Arista is quoting for its 7100 series.
Where Arista heads into new territory is with its Extensible Operating System (EOS), a special layer of software that rides on top of standard Linux Fedora in each box. It allows third party software to mingle with EOS, giving users an opportunity to add new protocols, customized network management, or even more exotic applications to their network. It will also makes it easier for Arista to add its own features to EOS in the future, since it doesn't have to deal with a proprietary OS-kernel or software components that it can't control.
EOS also has a self-healing feature due to its modular design and protection mechanisms. All of the software processes are put in their own protected address spaces, and if one of those processes fails, it will automatically restart without dropping packets. This kind of robustness also allows for on-the-fly bug patching and software upgrades. Some high-end Cisco boxes have similar functionality, but in a much higher price band.
Arista started shipping gear in May and has enjoyed some success across a range of markets including financial services, manufacturing, government, education and healthcare. Some of its current customers are BitGravity (video content distribution), Northwestern University (VLAN services), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (petascale computing, but probably 10 GbE just on the storage side).
According to Bechtolsheim, the level of reliability at this price point is unprecedented in the industry. "It was architected and implemented in a way that makes it more robust than any product out there -- and I'm not making that statement lightly," he says. According to him, the combination of price, performance and extensibility makes it a natural for cloud computing and HPC. In the latter market, Bechtolsheim believe most of the 10 GbE opportunity is on the storage side, where in many cases, storage servers are hanging off an Ethernet LAN and still need to talk TCP. On the compute side of HPC, he thinks InfiniBand will continue to maintain its position, due to its superior performance for MPI-based workloads.
But the company sees a much bigger play in cloud computing, where 24/7 mission-critical service using cheap, fault-tolerant hardware is the goal. Today, with the ubiquity of multimedia and the increasing density of compute power in servers, 10 gigabit pipes are now needed to keep up with all the data traffic. But since most of the software is running on top of a TCP stack, 10 GbE, not InfiniBand, is the obvious answer.
Right now there's a lot of activity from 10 GbE vendors, as the technology starts to move into the datacenter. Most analysts think that the transition from GbE to 10 GbE is going to occur fairly quickly over the next couple of years. Today the average selling price for a Gigabit Ethernet port is around $150. According to Mark Foss, Arista's marketing director, once the cost of 10 GbE approaches a reasonable premium over Gigabit Ethernet, the market will start transitioning very rapidly.
In the next year, as 10 GbE interfaces become standard on server motherboards and the next generation of CPUs get deployed, motivation to upgrade to the new standard will be much greater. As this occurs, more Web-based software services will start appearing to take advantage of 10 GbE performance. "There are a lot of things happening in the market -- in addition to the price points -- that will make 10 Gig to the server a no-brainer in the very short term," says Foss.
May 23, 2013 |
The study of climate change is one of those scientific problems where it is almost essential to model the entire Earth to attain accurate results and make worthwhile predictions. In an attempt to make climate science more accessible to smaller research facilities, NASA introduced what they call ‘Climate in a Box,’ a system they note acts as a desktop supercomputer.
May 22, 2013 |
At some point in the not-too-distant future, building powerful, miniature computing systems will be considered a hobby for high schoolers, just as robotics or even Lego-building are today. That could be made possible through recent advancements made with the Raspberry Pi computers.
May 16, 2013 |
When it comes to cloud, long distances mean unacceptably high latencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany examined those latency issues of doing CFD modeling in the cloud by utilizing a common CFD and its utilization in HPC instance types including both CPU and GPU cores of Amazon EC2.
May 15, 2013 |
Supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) have worked on important computational problems such as collapse of the atomic state, the optimization of chemical catalysts, and now modeling popping bubbles.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
In this demonstration of SGI DMF ZeroWatt disk solution, Dr. Eng Lim Goh, SGI CTO, discusses a function of SGI DMF software to reduce costs and power consumption in an exascale (Big Data) storage datacenter.
The Cray CS300-AC cluster supercomputer offers energy efficient, air-cooled design based on modular, industry-standard platforms featuring the latest processor and network technologies and a wide range of datacenter cooling requirements.