Getting back to programmability — there are three levels of programmability. One is management plane extensibility or how you talk to different APIs, whether it be OpenStack or VMware. The second is how you do control plane extensibility inside your physical software — and this is where most vendors fail. They don’t have the access to the existing database or control plane extensibility. The only way to get true control plane network extensibility is to take a state-oriented approach. This way customer extensions can be triggered based on change in the software. The fact that our system database is built on Linux so people can access it and write their own extensions, that’s true SDN.
The third level of programmability is the data plane of a network. This is where Arista introduced the first application switch with an FPGA [field-programmable gate array]. [Currently] people use Arista switches or Cisco switches and they have to dedicate an application and a server to get the performance they need. [Data passes] through multiple hops from switch to server to another server, so you get hundreds of microseconds of latency. When Arista [first] built a low-latency switch, we didn’t really solve the application latency problem. Now with the FX [application switch] you can take the Linux programming down to a unique environment and you can have consistent switching apps right on the FPGA. You can reduce the latency from tens of hundreds of microseconds to one microsecond.„