Chapter 7. SysDB

One of the most impressive features of Arista’s Extensible Operating System (EOS) that makes it stand out from the competition is SysDB. Simply put, SysDB is a System Database on the switch that holds all of the state, variables, and any other important information so that processes can access it. Doesn’t sound too earth-shattering, now does it? Read on.

Traditionally, switches (and every other networking device out there) were built using monolithic code. Naturally, when I read the word monolithic, I think of apes dancing around the monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. That’s actually not a bad analogy, aside from the whole “spark of humanity” thing.

Networking devices have been around for decades now, and many of them are very mature products, running very mature code. Executives like to use the word mature to describe something that’s been around long enough to have all of the bugs worked out. Developers don’t always agree with the usage of this word.

The problem is that some of this code has been around for decades, too. In keeping with our monolithic analogy, imagine a switch that was first brought to market in, say, the year 2001. Now imagine that this switch is still in production 12 years later, and the software is up to around version 13, only instead of calling it version 13, let’s call it something else, say, version 15. You know, because the number 13 is bad luck in many cultures, especially those that worship monolithic ...

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