May 03, 2012, 7:33 AM — Data center switch vendor Arista Networks next week will demonstrate how to build a software-defined cloud network using its switches, and controllers from partners VMware, Big Switch and Nebula.
At the Interop conference in Las Vegas, Arista will show that there's more than one way to skin the SDN cat. Even though OpenFlow gets most of the attention -- and really ignited the recent discussion around SDNs and its impact on networking -- there are several existing alternatives that enable network programmability today.
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Arista will argue that those alternatives, along with OpenFlow, can be supported in its Extensible Operating System (EOS) on its switches. EOS has inherent programmability, Arista says, making it "SDN ready" for applications such as real- time cloud computing, multi-tenant mobility and virtual machine migration.
SDNs allow administrators to program a network infrastructure through software by abstracting the physical hardware -- routers and switches -- from the network control plane. This allows administrators to program where traffic is forwarded without touching the physical hardware itself, and add incremental functionality through software extensions.
OpenFlow is a protocol and API that enables this though Arista and other vendors note that there are other protocols and APIs that allow for it too, like those found in EOS. Cisco says its Nexus 1000v virtual switch, for example, is an example of a programmable network utility.
At Interop, Arista plans to show how administrators can autoprovision VMware virtualization software using a VMware vCloud SDN controller. Arista will also show integration with the Nebula controller through the OpenStack Nova APIs.