Our Platform. Part 2: Network
We’re often asked what powers our low latency network. This is the second in a four part series discussing our technology choices; in this part we’ll look at the network components we run.
We wanted 10Gb throughout, but 10Gb options are a little short on the ground. The Cronos founders have had years and years of experience with Cisco, but at the time Cisco only had the Nexus series which are extremely expensive for 10Gb leaf switching. We were given a valuable tip by a friend – “Take a look at Arista”. So we did and we’re very glad we did too.
Arista Networks designed products specifically for cloud solutions in large datacentres and high performance environments. Coming from Cisco backgrounds we have found the Arista EOS environment extremely easy to use, adopting a very similar syntax to Cisco. We love the MLAG feature that allows switches to work in a logical stack (cross switch bonded channels) whilst maintaining separate control planes, a must for true high availability.
Many financial institutions adopted Arista on account of the extremely low latency, crucial for trading applications. We benefit from that same low latency plus other features required for scalable cloud environments like large MAC and unicast tables, typically 10x that of competitors products.
Arista and VMware co-authored the VXLAN standard; this is a new network protocol which allows for scalability far beyond existing protocols like conventional VLAN and Spanning Tree. We have truly embraced software-defined networking, provisioning customers on secure VXLAN networks.
Our border routers and external links all run from Cisco routers. Our belief is that for service provider routing it is really a choice between Cisco and Juniper and since we had years of Cisco experience we went with what we knew. We run a full BGP mesh for both IPv4 and IPv6 and have multiple transit links from various providers giving us complete resilience against both hardware and carrier issues.
vCloud Networking and Security (VCNS)
Part of the vCloud Suite, VCNS is a true software-defined networking solution that allows us to manage customer networks in a true multi-tenancy isolated manner. Each private cloud customer is given their own dedicated network segment (via VXLAN technology) and firewall. Remote access is provided via SSL-VPN and IPsec-VPN secure tunnels. Optionally customers can take advantage of layer4 or layer7 load balancing. VCNS delivers all of this functionality and more as a high performance highly available component “out of the box”.
>> Part 1: Servers
>> Part 2: Network
>> Part 3: Software
>> Part 4: Storage