John Osley
Former Global Product Marketing Director

Software Kills the Single-Vendor Solution

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IT vendors that have broad product portfolios spanning numerous technologies will have you believe that their products work better together because they all come from the same company.  As many in the industry know, however, that is not necessarily true.  A number of up-and-coming vendors are developing specialized products that are based on open standards to target specific places in the network.  They provide a multitude of ways to combine these best-of-breed products to create compelling and integrated solutions that answer some of today’s toughest IT problems better than traditional large incumbents. 

The industry and market is moving from “better together” single-vendor solutions to customized blends of superior products from different but complementary vendors.  At the core of many of these specialized products, software is the secret sauce that is shifting the single –vendor paradigm.  Here, I highlight three vendors that I believe have great product lines due to their underlying software – and that complement each other as a broader solution for the data center.


Arista Networks – Extensible Operating System (EOS)

Arista EOS is the core of Arista cloud networking solutions for next-generation data centers and cloud networks.  Cloud architectures built with Arista EOS scale to tens of thousands of compute and storage nodes with management and provisioning capabilities that work at scale.  Through its programmability, EOS enables a set of software applications that deliver workflow automation, high availability, unprecedented network visibility and analytics, and rapid integration with a wide range of third-party applications for virtualization, management, automation and orchestration services.

Arista (EOS) is a fully programmable and highly modular, Linux-based network operation system, using familiar industry standard CLI and runs a single binary software image across the Arista switching family. Architected for resiliency and programmability, EOS has a unique multi-process state sharing architecture that separates state information and packet forwarding from protocol processing and application logic.

Key Features

  • Programmable foundation via SysDB Linux kernel
  • Network orchestration capabilities that integrate with VMware and OpenStack
  • Visibility to network application with tracers such as VM Tracer, MapReduce Tracer, Health Tracer, and Path Tracer
  • TAP Aggregation via Data Analyzer (DANZ)
  • Congestion management via Latency Analyzer (LANZ)
  • Network automation with Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) and Zero Touch Replacement (ZTR)



A10 Networks – Advanced Core Operating System (ACOS)

ACOS is an Agile software-based platform that was built from the ground up. ACOS optimizes the performance and scalability of multi-core CPU architectures, and allows A10 to rapidly introduce new features and products that address changing market needs.  Key features include: 

Shared Memory Architecture - allows all processors to share common memory and system state simultaneously, avoiding the overhead associated with inter-processor communication (IPC) architectures deployed in first-generation approaches.  This efficient design achieves significantly greater performance and throughput from comparable levels of memory and processor resources, eliminating memory duplication and repetitive inter-processor communication tasks.

Flexible Traffic Accelerator - high-performance intelligent network I/O technology that can balance application traffic flows equitably across processor cores.  Unlike competitor platforms that inefficiently dedicate processor resources to certain limited tasks, ACOS maximizes the utility of all processor cores by distributing traffic equally and making the shared memory available to all cores.  Flexible Traffic Accelerator also performs hardware-based security checks for each packet and can discard suspicious traffic before it can impact system performance.

These features provide customers with the most efficient application networking design for superior price and performance in their hyperscale and cloud-based data centers, and can deliver two-to-five times more Web transactions in head-to-head product comparisons.



Silver Peak – Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA)

Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA) is the key to data acceleration success.  It enables you to deploy the Silver Peak solution on any platform of your choosing for maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness.  With industry leading scalability, VXOA is perfect for branch offices, data centers, cloud deployments and anywhere else you need data acceleration.  You can get VXOA as either VX software or NX hardware appliances for enterprise-wide WAN optimization, or as VRX software for offsite replication acceleration.  Agility plugins also exist for easy integration with virtualization management tools. 

Key Features

  • Network Memory technology for WAN deduplication to maximize bandwidth.
  • Network Integrity techniques for avoid packet loss and eliminate congestion
  • Advanced QoS and traffic shaping capabilities to support mixed traffic environments
  • Overcome latency (distance) through advanced protocol acceleration techniques
  • Secure data via IPSec and AES encryption, full support for SSL encrypted traffic and secure access to Silver Peak devices
  • Global Management System to centrally configure, monitor, and manage your WAN.


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