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4/3/2012
02:13 PM
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Arista Puts Real-Time Apps On New Switch

Andy Bechtolsheim, Arista Networks' founder and chief development officer, explains his company's AppSwitch 7124FX, which takes ultra-low-latency networking to a new level. Check out the video interview.

Arista networks recently announced its AppSwitch 7124FX, which takes ultra-low-latency networking to a new level--a level dictated mostly by applications where that latency really matters, like high-frequency trading and encryption and signal processing for monitoring communications. These are areas in which Arista has always succeeded in its young life as a data center disruptor, but the 7124 is another step entirely.

We invited Arista's founder, Andy Bechtolsheim, to InformationWeek's Valley View monthly live Web TV program, to talk about the company--and particularly the new product. Bechtolsheim is a decorated Silicon Valley entrepreneur, having cofounded Sun Microsystems (where he was the company's first employee), along with several other startups that he eventually sold to the likes of Cisco. He was also one of the first investors in Google, long before the company was even incorporated.

Network Computing's Mike Fratto does an excellent job of detailing what Arista has done in the AppSwitch 7124FX, as well as some of the potential applications and perhaps even some hidden benefits that Bechtolsheim didn't have time to get into on our show. Essentially, the 7124 uses field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), so some of the application functionality that truly requires real-time execution happens in a place (the switch) that accelerates that execution--unlike the normal place that application would run (the server).

The magic here isn't just in the FPGAs (these have been available in servers for quite some time), or even that those FPGAs are in the switch, but that they are programmable via Arista's SDK, putting more power into the hands of the companies who will use the switches to gain a competitive advantage. This is especially important in areas like trading, where the algorithms and rules are proprietary, and the code itself is the competitive advantage.

You can hear more about what Bechtolsheim had to say--including his thoughts on more general IT applications--by watching the video embedded below.

The pay-as-you go nature of the cloud makes ROI calculation seem easy. It’s not. Also in the new, all-digital Cloud Calculations InformationWeek supplement: Why infrastructure-as-a-service is a bad deal. (Free registration required.)

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