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Arista aims at Cisco NAM with TAP app

Data center switch vendor Arista Networks this week unveiled software designed to analyze data in software defined networks.

The company's DANZ data analyzer, an application for Arista's Extensible Operating System (EOS), performs a suite of tap aggregation traffic monitoring functions to provide IT personnel with data on network conditions. This information would be used to establish SDNs where switches could be programmed to forward based on that data.

Several vendors are announcing tap aggregation as an initial use case for SDNs. Big Switch Networks, for example, rolled it out late last year for its controller; and Cisco announced a tap aggregation application for its upcoming Cisco ONE controller.

[ARISTA'S SDN STRATEGY: Arista teams with VMware, Big Switch, Nebula for SDNs]

Arista says DANZ is more tightly integrated with the switch than data analysis hardware - Cisco's Network Analysis Module for its Catalyst and Nexus switches, for example -- would be since it is an application that runs on the EOS operating system. Arista also claims DANZ does not sap performance as a network appliance or module would, and that it interoperates with several partner applications to broaden network visibility.

"Arista will position DANZ against Cisco's NAM modules," says Brad Casemore of IDC. "That will not be the exclusive positioning, of course, but Arista believes this represents a competitive front where it can attempt to establish a qualitative advantage relative to Cisco, which has targeted Arista increasingly during the last several months.

"In offering DANZ, Arista is providing value to a cross section of its customers, but it is not taking aim at the high end of the network-monitoring market," Casemore adds. "Customers in need of comprehensive features and functionality and high-end capabilities will still look to established players for those solutions."

Some of the tap aggregation capabilities of DANZ include multi-destination mirroring, packet filtering and manipulation, port-mirror source aggregation and forensics, Arista says. The application can alleviate the need, cost and complexity of deploying network analysis probes and devices at multiple locations in a network, the company says.

Instead, DANZ will reside on each Arista switch in the network.

DANZ was in demand by Arista's high-frequency trading customers, Casemore says.

"This provides a qualitative software-driven differentiator that helps them enhance the value that they bring to their own customers, thereby countering potential competitive threats, while also helps them compete for new customers in the same -- or similar -- market segments," he says.

Arista DANZ is available immediately on the Arista 7150 series as an EOS "Z" license option for $3,000.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.


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