White Papers

In the past few decades the most pervasive storage media was a dedicated Fibre Channel network that connected compute to storage. There really was no other choice; it was Fibre Channel or nothing. Recently, technological innovations in both storage and networking are leading most organizations to converge their infrastructure onto an Ethernet based IP fabric. The choice to converge is typically based on cost, performance and simplicity, however this document will not cover the sometimes political nature of this decision.

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Collapsing hierarchical, multi-tiered networks of the past into more compact, resilient, feature rich, two-tiered, leaf-spine or SplineTM networks have clear advantages in the data center. The benefits of more scalable and more stable layer 3 networks far outweigh the challenges this architecture creates. Layer 2 networking fabrics of the past lacked stability and scale. This legacy architecture limited workload size, mobility, and confined virtual workloads to a smaller set of physical servers. As virtualization scaled in the data center, the true limitations of these fabrics quickly surfaced

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Consumers are now heavily invested in mobile access for applications and content. This shift in consumption models is driving new business requirements and creating new challenges for Telcos, from increasingly high bandwidth Over-The-Top (OTT) traffic and competition from the cloud providers. Instead of competing directly with public cloud offerings, Telcos is instead adopting cloud principles to deliver its network services in a more efficient manner. Some are providing cloud connection services to their existing customers to provide secure VPN access to the public cloud.

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For many years, one of the biggest challenges in network design has been effectively managing traffic flow end-to-end across the network. Stated more specifically: How is traffic intelligently classified and path engineered throughout the network? Furthermore, how can this traffic be classified into differentiated levels of service, without adding unnecessary complication to management, control plane or data plane state in this critically important part of the network?

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It’s simply not good enough to have a great and scalable network alone. A data center can have tens of thousands of compute, storage and network devices, presenting a large operational challenge to IT. In addition, as the network is scaling, IT is being asked to reduce operational expenses and increase responsiveness to changing business needs.

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Architecting a fault tolerant and resilient network fabric is only one part of the challenge facing network managers and operations teams today. It is simply not good enough to build a scalable fault tolerant network. Typical data centers can range from tens, to hundreds if not thousands of networking devices.

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Performance, resiliency and programmability across the entire network are now fundamental business requirements for next generation cloud and enterprise data center networks. The need for agility and deployment at scale with regards to provisioning and network operations requires a new level of automation and integration with current data center infrastructure. The underlying design of the network operating system provides the architectural foundation to meet these requirements

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Arista Networks, a leader in high-speed, highly programmable data center switching, has outlined a number of guiding principles for integration with Software Defined Networking (SDN) technologies, including controllers, switch hypervisors, cloud orchestration middleware, and customized flow-based forwarding agents. These guiding principles leverage proven, scalable, and standards-based control and data plane switching technologies from Arista.

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The Arista advantage has resulted in a fast-growing company that has emerged to become the second leading player in the high-speed 10/40/100GbE switching market in the data center. Arista has achieved this by focusing solely on building the best products for the needs of high performance cloud data centers, and by building an organizational strategy and supporting structure that enables our customers to interact directly with our engineering team to explore and develop new products and features. We have a deep pool of executive talent that has successfully built innovative organizations and products across the industry over the past several decades, and who have brought innovation and dynamism back to networking.

. The Arista Advantage

The purpose and scope of this white paper is to discuss spanning tree interoperability between Arista and Cisco switches. It is written in a manner that assumes the reader has at least a moderate working knowledge of spanning tree protocol configuration and operation. Detailed explanations of the basic functionality of each spanning tree protocol is outside the scope of this document.

. Spanning Tree Protocol Interoperability with Cisco

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