Why choose Cisco Over Arista?

When you’re looking to outfit your network it can be tough to pick out what company to go with. We’ve put together all the pros and cons to help you make the right choice.

One of the things we hear and lot is “Nobody ever got fired for buying Cisco” but these days Arista is now being recognized as a great alternative. Times are changing!

Anyhow, lets get right into it.

Introduction: Navigating the Networking Landscape: Choosing Between Cisco and Arista

In the ever changing, crazy world of networking technology, the choice of hardware and software solutions can be crucial for businesses and IT pros. Among the myriad of options, Cisco and Arista Networks stand out as top contenders, each with its unique strengths and offerings. We will delve into a detailed comparison between these two top dogs, aiming to provide insights for those grappling with the decision of Cisco versus Arista.

Understanding Cisco and Arista

Cisco, a name synonymous with networking, has been a dominant player in the field for decades. Everyone knows Cisco. Known for its vast range of products covering almost every aspect of networking, Cisco’s solutions are renowned for their reliability and comprehensive features. Cisco’s influence extends beyond hardware, encompassing extensive software solutions, security, and a robust ecosystem of services and support.

On the other hand, Arista Networks  emerged as a strong competitor, primarily focusing on high-performance networking. Arista is the “new” kid on the block, who’s shaking up the playing field. Arista has carved out a niche in cloud networking, offering streamlined and scalable solutions that appeal to data centers and cloud service providers. While not as broad in its product range as Cisco, Arista’s focus on making complex networks easier and its commitment to software-driven solutions has earned it a loyal following.

Both companies have cultivated distinct reputations: Cisco as the established leader with an extensive range of solutions, and Arista as the agile innovator, focusing on high-efficiency and software-centric networking.

Section 2: Hardware Options and Performance

Cisco’s Diverse Hardware Portfolio: Cisco’s strength lies in its extensive range of hardware options, catering to a wide array of networking needs. Cisco does it all. From routers, switches, and security appliances to wireless systems and data center products, Cisco’s hardware is designed to serve diverse scenarios, from small businesses with a switch like the SG350XG-24F-K9 to large enterprises, data centers and ISPs. This extensive variety allows users to find a Cisco product for virtually any networking need, but it can also present a challenge in terms of selecting the right product from such a vast catalogue. You can think of Cisco as your one stop shop for the tiniest detail of your network, you just need to know what you’re looking for.

Arista’s Focused Approach: In contrast, Arista adopts a more focused approach with its hardware offerings. Concentrating on common use cases, particularly in high-frequency trading with switches, cloud data centers like the 7060sx2-48yc6, and large-scale deployments, Arista’s products are renowned for their efficiency and high-speed performance. While this means fewer options than Cisco, the focused approach ensures that each Arista product is fine-tuned for optimal performance in its intended environment. It also means selecting hardware is more straight forward.


Performance Comparison: When it comes to performance, both Cisco and Arista offer high-end capabilities, but their focus areas differ. Cisco’s hardware is known for its robustness and versatility, making it suitable for a broader range of applications. Arista, however, shines in environments that demand high throughput and low latency, making its products ideal for data-intensive tasks. Let it be said though, they are both able to perform on the highest levels.

Section 3: Software Capabilities and Integration

Cisco’s Software Ecosystem: Cisco’s software solutions, including its IOS (Internetwork Operating System) and NX-OS, are as diverse as its hardware. The comprehensive nature of Cisco’s software suite allows for extensive customization and integration, catering to complex networking demands. Additionally, Cisco’s focus on security and network management through software like Cisco DNA Center and ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) provides a holistic approach to network architecture.

Arista’s Software-Driven Networking: Arista’s EOS (Extensible Operating System) is a key differentiator. This single-image software for all Arista devices emphasizes stability, flexibility, and simplicity. Arista’s software approach is geared towards simplifying network configurations and management, making it particularly appealing in cloud and large-scale data center environments. The integration of Arista’s software into existing systems is generally straightforward, given its focus on automation and reducing complexity. This is a big factor why customers are choosing Arista and would recommend their switches over Cisco.

Integration Capabilities: Both Cisco and Arista offer robust integration capabilities with existing systems. Cisco’s range might require more consideration for compatibility due to its vastness, whereas Arista’s focused approach can simplify integration decisions. Ultimately, the choice between Cisco’s comprehensive software ecosystem and Arista’s streamlined, software-centric approach will depend on the specific needs and infrastructure of the user.

I think you’re probably getting the picture here, when asking the big question, Why choose Cisco over Arista – Arista has less solutions but is easier to manage.

Section 4: Cost Considerations

When answering why choose Cisco over Arista, cost is a crucial factor. Cisco’s broad range of products comes with varied pricing, catering to different budget levels. The extensive product line means users can often find a Cisco solution that aligns with their financial constraints. However, the comprehensive nature of Cisco’s offerings, especially in high-end products, can sometimes translate to higher upfront costs.

Arista’s hardware, while focused on specific use cases, is generally perceived as cost-effective for the performance it delivers, particularly in high-demand environments like cloud data centers and large-scale deployments. The initial investment in Arista might be higher for some products, but the focus on efficiency and performance can offer long-term cost savings, especially in terms of reduced operational costs and energy efficiency. I’ve heard it quite often that after things are all said and done – Arista is cheaper.

Both companies offer different pricing models and discounts, so a detailed cost analysis based on specific needs is recommended. It’s also important to consider the total cost of ownership, including maintenance, upgrades, and support, in addition to the initial purchase price.

Section 5: Ease of Use and Management

Cisco’s User Experience: Cisco’s wide array of products and services might seem overwhelming at first, but the company offers extensive training and certification programs to help users maximize their investments. Cisco’s management tools, like Cisco DNA Center, provide a centralized, intuitive platform for network management, though mastering the full range of Cisco’s offerings can require a significant time investment.

Arista’s Simplicity and Efficiency: Arista, with its focus on streamlined and software-driven solutions, tends to offer a more straightforward user experience. The EOS platform is designed for simplicity and scalability, making it easier to manage for users who prioritize ease of use and efficient network management. The learning curve for Arista’s products is generally considered less steep, especially for professionals already familiar with network administration.

Both Cisco and Arista offer extensive support and documentation, ensuring that users have access to the necessary resources for effective network management. The choice between the two may come down to the specific needs and preferences of the network administrators and the scale of the network operations.

Section 6: Customer Satisfaction and Support

Cisco’s Established Support Network: Cisco’s long-standing presence in the networking industry has allowed it to build a robust support network. Cisco offers a wide range of support options, from online resources and community forums to dedicated support teams. Its extensive certification program also creates a large pool of knowledgeable professionals who can provide peer-to-peer support. Customer satisfaction often hinges on Cisco’s comprehensive support and the widespread availability of skilled professionals familiar with its systems.

Arista’s Customer-Centric Approach: Arista, while smaller in scale compared to Cisco, has garnered a reputation for high customer satisfaction, particularly among enterprises with high-performance network needs. Arista’s support is often praised for being responsive and technically adept, aligning with its focus on specialized networking solutions. The company’s emphasis on customer-centric innovation and responsiveness to customer needs plays a significant role in its customer satisfaction ratings.

Making the Choice: The decision between Cisco and Arista in terms of customer satisfaction and support will depend largely on the specific requirements and preferences of the organization. Cisco’s extensive network and resources are a strong point for enterprises requiring a wide range of support options. In contrast, Arista’s focused and responsive support might be more appealing for businesses looking for specialized, high-performance networking solutions.


In Conclusion

Like any IT hardware/software, you’ve got to weigh various factors such as hardware options, software capabilities, cost, ease of use, and customer support. Cisco offers a wide range of products suited for diverse networking needs and has a robust support network, making it a reliable choice for many. On the other hand, Arista’s focus on high-performance and software-driven solutions, along with its efficient and customer-centric support, makes it an attractive option for specific high-demand environments. If you have all the facts I think you can easily answer, why choose cisco over arista – it just depends on what your goals are and whats important to your business.


Let’s sum this up though, the bottom line is this:

When you’re trying to answer the question – Why choose Cisco over Arista?:

Cisco, known for its extensive and complex hardware options and tends to be more expensive, while Arista offers more commonly used configurations with user-friendly and cost-effective solutions. Arista focuses on advanced, easy-to-upgrade hardware, providing a contrast to Cisco’s comprehensive range. On Gartner Peer Insights, Arista is rated at 4.7 stars (112 reviews), compared to Cisco’s 4.6 stars (417 reviews).

Questions? We can help.

Contact Us
Live Chat
Get $5 off your order by entering your email address!

No thanks! Add item to cart *By completing this, you are signing up to receive our automated emails and communication from our team. You can unsubscribe at any time.