Networking is sexy again. At least according to Jayshree Ullal, CEO of Arista, a rising star in the networking sector. It’s a transitional space that’s balancing much of the convergance taking place in the cloud right now, and Ullal stops by theCube to discuss her company’s position in the industry during VMworld 2011.
“The cloud has gone from a hype term to real deployments. Arista was built with the intent of building for the cloud. Today we have deployments worldwide for the private and public clouds,” Ullal points out. “The private cloud took off first, but today I’m pleased to say that the public cloud is growing. They’re really looking for scale and power and I’m glad to be at Arista to make networking sexy again.”
In doing so, Arista is addressing a string of problems taking place at various layers of the cloud, and that includes mobility. As Ullal points out, the deployment of virtualization has especially been a challenge for mobility, and the virtual machine sprawl has forced networking vendors to be less static. This is where Arista’s team up with VMware comes into play, helping to make that connection for building very large scale networks that can handle thousands and hundreds of thousands of nodes.
Furrier then brings up the question of LAN, and its stage of modernization. Is this a maturing segment of the networking sector? Ullal admits that many of the networking problems have been shifted to the inner datacenter over the past few years, and while many proprietary solutions have emerged, she sees no need for them. “You can enable vxLAN at the edge and implement a full Internet protocol.” And as far as the industry’s maturity level goes, Ullal thinks we’re at the midway point, where the problem has been identified, and the technology is present, but products and deployments are still 6 months to 1 year away.
But when it comes to Arista’s industry position, it still fills a niche, and is not for everyone. Ullal points out that the best environment for Arista to work in is a clean slate, where the architecture becomes an important focus on how the network itself operates. At the enterprise scale, many of Arista’s deployments take place in smaller clouds alongside an existing enterprise solution. Arista is all about workloads for scale, however, and a clean slate in this regard gives Arista’s networking capabilities the right topography to manage thousands of nodes.
To help customers along their way, Arista has a latency analyzer, which helps to tune the network for growing demand around applications. “What we’re able to do is set thresholds and say ‘hey, a problem is coming,’ before you reach a level of congestion,” Ullal explains. “This type of provocativeness is an open extensive interaction between applications.”
With this statement it’s clear Arista is considering this new world of applications that’s taken over the cloud. And in managing the datacenter, there’s still some dissonance between app developers and networking managers. If a networking issue arises, is it the applications’ fault, or the network’s? “I think the key to understand if it’s a few apps or all apps is to recognize application behavior,” Ullal says. “All these applications pushing performance, whether it’s Facebook or the consumeriation of IT–the portals we all use–is pushing interactions between servers and causing latency. It’s the high performance transactions.”
In building networking solutions for the cloud, Arista’s positioned itself in the middle of this “perfect storm” that brings together hardware, software and customer disruption. This is what makes networking sexy, Ullal says. And Arista is ready to take on the world.