Seems that many on this board have relegated Arista to the doghouse. Like, yeah, it’s been a star but we have faster growing companies in which to invest, or perhaps, well, you know, Arista management is smart and so when they say growth will be slow, they’ve got to right, or when they say they don’t know that tells me it’s not a business in which I want to invest. Etc, etc.
Is this really deserved? Are the prospects for ANET really so diminished now?
Since many on this board sold in May, the stock has had a steady more than 10% rise - from $250ish to almost $280.
Some of the recent gains are due to a new product announcement: the 7170. This is their first unit based on the Barefoot Tofino chips, which are technically superior to the currently standard Broadcom (or even Cavium) chips in that they’re far more programmable without sacrificing throughput.
Martin Hull, Arista’s area vice president for cloud sayid: “The key aspect is that unlike a lot of high-end switches and routers today, the packet processor is programmable. It’s more like a CPU. It opens up a whole set of use cases.” (https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/aristas-new-switch-… )
This article: https://www.networkworld.com/article/3278590/lan-wan/increas… sums up the advantages pretty succinctly:
The programmability of the 7170 enables specific functions to be moved back into the network and because only those features have been programmed in, there is little to no performance hit on the network and it allows the compute pool to do more computing with fewer resources, saving money on hardware, power, cooling, and all the other costs associated with running a server pool.
As the first article continues:
Additionally, because the platform is EOS-based, the same device can be used in multiple roles, each with its own profile, ensuring consistent management and provisioning… “When you’re looking around for a box to run NAT, the 7170 can do it at a much lower cost,” said Hull.
Hull said the real beauty of the platform isn’t so much its programmability as its re-programmability. “The customer can change it on the fly depending on what software you load” he said. “It’s programmable and re-programmable. We’re addressing multiple use cases with the same device.”
Even with the advantages that being first to leverage the Barefoot programmable chips provides, Arista’s solution still has its software are the main advantage. Others will of course eventually come out with units using those chips, but Arista’s software makes programming them easy and safe:
One of the difficulties of using a programmable switch is that the programming isn’t easy, and messing around with the network pipeline could have some disastrous consequences. This is one reason why many customers, even technically advanced ones, have stayed away from the Cavium-based white boxes. One thing Arista has over a white box is the company is releasing the product with pre-built templates, allowing customers to quickly configure the switch for their specific needs. … By providing the templates, Arista de-risks the deployment of something that customers may have shied away from because of the programming challenges.
Arista is providing two templates today (Layer 2&3 switching and cloud bare-metal config), with more (telemetry and security) coming in August.
And, here’s the real lock-in for Artisa: their same EOS software runs on any silicon and abstracts the functionality out while also providing silicon-based specific features. Customers that use Arista can deploy a wide variety of switches running Broadcom, Fulcrum, Cavium, and now Barefoot silicon. The operating system, EOS, will be the same on each switch…
This also means companies running Arista have future upgrade paths with much less disruption. They can replace old boxes with new boxes running the same software. There’s no more hardware vendor lock-in. Of course, if they want they can just purchase Arista hardware as well, and for a software company Arista appears to be doing a bang up job with hardware, too,.
I haven’t sold any of my ANET, and don’t plan to unless they stop leading the pack innovatively. This board is really good at finding the current hot, J-pop band type, growth stock at the hockey stick inflection point, but to me Arista looks like it has unique long-lasting qualities that I find more attractive. More Rolling Stones than Baha Men (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_one-hit_wonders_in_the… ), if you get my drift. ;^)