Arista Poised for Ethernet Expansion

By Nicole Hemsoth

June 9, 2014

In the wake of the Arista Networks IPO news on Friday, there has been a great deal of conversation about what the future of software-defined networking will be going forward, not just for its obvious role in hyperscale datacenters, but in other IT segments as well, including HPC.

To be clear, other than having a heavier warchest to throw at new Ethernet efforts, Arista’s role in HPC will remain small, although for some workloads in oil and gas and financial services (especially where Infiniband has been foregone in the past due to a lack of latency and bandwidth sensitivity) it will remain a top choice. With its recent IPO news, Arista Networks is valued at around $2.75 billion. Their IPO effort generated just $226 million with 5.25 million shares they priced at $43, which was above expectations. At current reporting, the stock is trading at just a tick above $55 per share, down a bit from a steady hold at $58 on Friday afternoon. They’ve already been seeing sustained 99% annual growth in net income according to 2013 numbers, up from 87% the previous year, but again, much of this is in the cloud and hyperscale markets.

There are some notable use cases for Arista’s 10GbE approach to be found in supercomputing. For instance, as we reported over in EnterpriseTech earlier this year, BP’s 2.2 petaflop system is outfitted with “Arista 7508E core switches with 40 Gb/sec pipes linking the racks together and 10 Gb/sec Ethernet top-of-rack switches linking the nodes together into the rack.” The San Diego Supercomputer Center uses Arista for the backend of its 5.5 petabyte-capacity cloud storage system with similar deployments at Los Alamos National Lab (in that case via a partnership with Panasas). The real stories about Arista’s success in HPC datacenters, however, is locked behind the guarded walls at high frequency trading shops, among others, where the network’s secret sauce is part of a much larger approach to ultra-fast computing that we’ll never hear about.

For HPC, as a dedicated market inside that much broader IT ecosystem Arista hopes to continue tackling the high end datacenter market, focusing on workloads that aren’t a “no brainer” for investing in Infiniband—as well as for that large base at the bottom end of the Top 500 that is still using GbE. With the promise of cheaper, faster networks that can be reconfigured more flexibly, Arista might find a nice niche in more supercomputing circles, picking up the scraps left behind from both Mellanox’s Infiniband, which holds 41.4% of the list. Intel’s share of the Infiniband pie is not significant either, and further, an additional part of that list, 27%, is still using GbE, but the considerations there (workload requirements, etc.) are too numerous to offer general speculation about possible transitions to a new software-defined network approach. Still, the cost model is attractive at scale.

The company has addressed networks differently from its competitors by foregoing chip design and instead focusing on the software side of reducing latency for its 10GbE switches. They were the first to do a two-tiered “leaf spine” network, which broke the three-tier network trend. With that core layer eliminated, Arista aimed at making it cheaper to build out large systems by allowing users to stack from 10,000 to 100,000 servers on their networks without the expensive core switch factor. Cisco, HP, Juniper and others were quick to emulate this, but Arista was the leader here. Still, they note they only have a 6% share of the overall datacenter market (this includes cloud, “big data” and other enterprise IT) but they expect to grow it further with their one-tier Spline network, where one server is just one simple hop away from another (which is great, although offers a limited fit for HPC). While hitting a scaling wall at 2,000 nodes, is more than enough punch for workloads that aren’t as bandwidth or latency sensitive as others in HPC.

This is certainly big news for the major network players including Cisco in particular, which tends to loom large with an estimated 60-70% of the overall datacenter switching market according to Arista’s opening day documents. They round their share in the broad datacenter market at around 6%, but they’re expecting big growth with their software-defined networking approach that is designed to offer more flexibility and lower costs.

Shareholders are banking on these differentiations—not to mention the cast of characters who have a successful track record in the networking market. Arista, which was founded in 2004, is the brainchild of Sun Microsystems co-founder, Andy Bechtolsheim and Stanford University computer science professor, David Cheriton, the effort won quick backing to the tune of $100 million. The duo previously collaborated on another networking startup, Granite Systems, which Cisco bought in 1996 and really pushed their work into the mainstream network market.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

China Plans 2019 Exascale Machine To Grow Sea Power

August 23, 2017

The glory of having the world's fastest supercomputer, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, has been China's for four years running, first with the 33-petaflops Tianhe-2 and currently with the 93-petaflops TaihuLight. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft, Intel Unveil FPGA-driven Project Brainwave

August 23, 2017

We know about the seeming light-speed processing power of FPGAs and the natural fit they pose for data-dense AI workloads. But we also know that FPGAs present usability and programmability problems that flummox IT shops. Read more…

By Doug Black

Study Identifies Best Practices for Public-Private HPC Engagement

August 22, 2017

What's the best way for HPC centers in the public sphere to engage with private industry partners to boost the competitiveness of the companies and the larger communities? That question is at the heart of a new study pub Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Leveraging Deep Learning for Fraud Detection

Advancements in computing technologies and the expanding use of e-commerce platforms have dramatically increased the risk of fraud for financial services companies and their customers. Read more…

Google Launches Site to Share its NYC-based Algorithm Research

August 22, 2017

Much of Google’s algorithm development occurs in groups scattered throughout New York City. Yesterday, Google launched a single website - NYC Algorithms and Optimization Team page - to provide a deeper view into all of Read more…

By John Russell

China Plans 2019 Exascale Machine To Grow Sea Power

August 23, 2017

The glory of having the world's fastest supercomputer, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, has been China's for four years running, first with the 33-petaflop Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft, Intel Unveil FPGA-driven Project Brainwave

August 23, 2017

We know about the seeming light-speed processing power of FPGAs and the natural fit they pose for data-dense AI workloads. But we also know that FPGAs present u Read more…

By Doug Black

Study Identifies Best Practices for Public-Private HPC Engagement

August 22, 2017

What's the best way for HPC centers in the public sphere to engage with private industry partners to boost the competitiveness of the companies and the larger c Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tech Giants Outline Battle Plans for Future HPC Market

August 21, 2017

Four companies engaged in a cage fight for leadership in the emerging HPC market of the 2020s are, despite deep differences in some areas, in violent agreement Read more…

By Doug Black

Microsoft Bolsters Azure With Cloud HPC Deal

August 15, 2017

Microsoft has acquired cloud computing software vendor Cycle Computing in a move designed to bring orchestration tools along with high-end computing access capabilities to the cloud. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Ships Supercomputer to Space Station, Final Destination Mars

August 14, 2017

With a manned mission to Mars on the horizon, the demand for space-based supercomputing is at hand. Today HPE and NASA sent the first off-the-shelf HPC system i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD EPYC Video Takes Aim at Intel’s Broadwell

August 14, 2017

Let the benchmarking begin. Last week, AMD posted a YouTube video in which one of its EPYC-based systems outperformed a ‘comparable’ Intel Broadwell-based s Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Thrives in Cancer Moonshot

August 8, 2017

The U.S. War on Cancer, certainly a worthy cause, is a collection of programs stretching back more than 40 years and abiding under many banners. The latest is t Read more…

By John Russell

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of Read more…

By Alex Woodie

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Six Exascale PathForward Vendors Selected; DoE Providing $258M

June 15, 2017

The much-anticipated PathForward awards for hardware R&D in support of the Exascale Computing Project were announced today with six vendors selected – AMD Read more…

By John Russell

Top500 Results: Latest List Trends and What’s in Store

June 19, 2017

Greetings from Frankfurt and the 2017 International Supercomputing Conference where the latest Top500 list has just been revealed. Although there were no major Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Clears Path to 5nm with Silicon Nanosheets

June 5, 2017

Two years since announcing the industry’s first 7nm node test chip, IBM and its research alliance partners GlobalFoundries and Samsung have developed a proces Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Messina Update: The US Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This