Arista adds IoT, remote-work management to campus family

Arista adds IoT, remote-work management to campus family

Arista has added IoT monitoring and management to its CloudVision platform that can be shared with products by VMware, Microsoft and IBM's Red Hat

Credit: Dreamstime

Arista Networks has taken the wraps off extensions to its campus-networking portfolio that promise to help customers manage Internet of Things (IoT) devices, improve wireless connectivity and cope with Covid-era remote-networking requirements.

When it comes to managing the campus and the edge it’s important for IT to understand what devices are in the network, what they're doing, and making sure they are properly segmented, said Ed Chapman, vice president of business development for Arista.

Customers need to manage wireless and wired systems as one entity to gain visibility, intelligence, and analytics on the overall environment.

In Arista’s case that wired and wireless management comes via Arista’s flagship software package CloudVision that provides wired and wireless, visibility, orchestration, provisioning, telemetry and analytics across the data centre and campus. CloudVision’s network information can be utilised by Arista networking partners such as VMware, Microsoft and IBM’s Red Hat.

To CloudVision, the company has now added support for IoT devices with IoTvision, a dashboard that inventories IoT endpoints and collects data on device type, connection status, traffic patterns, and quality of experience across connected devices on wired or wireless networks.

“Getting a handle on what types of IoT devices are connecting to the network and what types of vulnerabilities that may bring are difficult for operations to get their arms around,” said Jeff Raymond, vice president of Arista’s EOS Product Management and Services. IoTvision can see what’s attached and look at traffic flows from devices including healthcare systems, home networks and remote branches, Raymond said.

Awake Security acquisition

Improving IoT security is in part why Arista this week announced intentions to acquire network detection-and-response platform provider Awake Security for an undisclosed amount.

“AVA, Awake's virtual security analyst is AI-driven for proactive threat detection," wrote Arista’s CEO Jayshree Ullal in a blog about the acquisition. "The cognitive processing begins when a packet is fed into the Awake sensor.

"The sensor feeds interesting attributes of packets and flows to develop a holistic picture of network and contextual activities. The ability to process packet information into communication patterns with actionable insights is a differentiating feature from traditional security solutions."

Awake's advanced fingerprinting of activity patterns is not just for device communication but is also used to search for indicators of threat compromise or attack, Ullal stated.

“It is a difficult and confusing time in security for enterprises. Workloads are moving to cloud. Threats are blurring the perimeter and trust boundaries are spanning from client to campus to cloud,” Ullal stated. “The ability to distinguish data patterns is paramount to building cognitive workspaces and this can only be done with security as a proactive tool not an after-thought.”

CloudVision upgrades

In addition to the IoT developments, Arista added a number of enhancements to CloudVision that target customers dealing with Covid-era remote networking needs. For example, the system now includes anomaly detection with predictive alerting for events such as application reachability, resource utilisation, and device-state monitoring for all attached devices whether they are at home or in the office.

A new Compliance Dashboard offers what the company called a risk assessment of the wired and wireless infrastructure by automatically identifying known security vulnerabilities and software defects and their potential impact across the network.

The company also introduced Arista P-Tracer, a feature that lets customers track a user’s location via their cellphone, which will be useful for Covid contact tracing or alerting IT when too many people are in an office room.

HPE, Okta, Palo Alto partnerships

In addition, Arista said it is partnering with other vendors such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise / Aruba, Okta, Palo Alto Networks, CheckPoint Forescout and Fortinet to work with their platforms to help manage remote workers.

For example, Arista’s integration with Okta’s single sign-on program offers customers secure sign-on for network access and applications, simplifying security administration and end-user access management.

Integration with Aruba’s ClearPass  package allows role-based access control across Arista wired and wireless networks. And Arista and Forescout eyeSight integration provides automated discovery and classification of workstations, laptops, printers, cameras, and other IoT devices.

“The new features are in response to customers saying they have 70-to-100 per cent of their employees working from home, and they need to manage those users as if they were in an office,” Raymond said. “For example, if a remote user is having trouble with a Zoom call or Teams is having an issue, through our remote access points we now have the ability to troubleshoot those problems.”

New Wi-Fi 6 hardware

Arista also grew its wireless portfolio by introducing two Wi-Fi 6 access points (AP) aimed at high-density Wi-Fi deployments in indoor and outdoor environments.

The devices include the enterprise-grade external antenna, six-stream Wi-Fi 6 AP with dual concurrent 5 GHz- and 2.4 GHz-band radios (model C-230/E), and a ruggedised version (model O-235/E).

The new suite of CloudVision capabilities will be generally available Q4 2020 as part of existing customers CloudVision software subscription. The new wireless products are available now.

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