While Cisco is the big boy on the block when it comes to networking gear, competitor Arista has some nice offerings that give one reason to look at a look at its products.
One interesting thing their devices have is “native support for VMware Virtualization” (1). With Vmware endorsing NSX for it’s vision of the software defined datacenter (SDDC), and a partner like Arista providing the physical components, it could make deploying software defined networking (SDN) much easier. In fact, Vmware and Arista have entered a “Strategic Relationship to Advance Adoption of Network Virtualization”. At the moment it’s a 4 year agreement ot work together, but as with any relationship, if it is fruitful it will continue to grow.
One of my concerns with NSX when it first came out was vendor support. At a VMUG conference 2 years ago when asked what steps and hardware vendor support there would be for network issues, the answer was they were working on it. In the meantime use wireshark. At that time, only bleeding edge cases would have likley gotten the most out of NSX. Today with strategic partnerships in place, it’s a different story.
At the moment it appears the targets for their combined solutions are large enterprise datacenters and cloud providers
but for smaller and midsized firms, gaining an understanding of what is available can always lead to a future edge competitively.
This topic needs further research by myself, and I am interested in learning more