Data centre switch maker Arista Networks is unveiling software designed to improve visibility, configuration and provisioning in virtual environments.

The company introduced VM Tracer, a software enhancement to its EOS operating system that is intended to discover virtual machines and dynamically segment them into virtual LANs. VM Tracer also autoconfigures VMs based on port profiles defines in VMware's ESX server; and supports multiple VMware vCenter administration stations.

Arista was founded by Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim. The company's forte is low cost, high density 10G Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet switching for the data centre supported by extensible operating system software.

VMware helped develop VM Tracer. It works with VMware vSphere 4.0 or higher and on Arista's EOS Version 4.5 and higher.

VM Tracer is intended to let the VM administrator maintain control over the virtualisation platform, while the network administrator gains visibility into the virtualized environment to monitor how the network behaves. VM Tracer signals to the ESX host which interface it is connected on, then queries vCenter to discover the port/host binding. EOS then displays the binding.

VM Tracer reads the IPMI data from vCenter for each host, which is also then displayed on the EOS interface. This host discovery procedure provides the network administrator with information about connected interfaces, which is useful for bandwidth provisioning and troubleshooting.

For VM discovery, VM Tracer learns through vCenter which VMs are connected to which virtual switch on the ESX host, and which uplinks connect that host to an Arista switch. EOS displays these bindings as well.

VM Tracer also helps alleviate manual VLAN configuration required in competitive switches by using the aforementioned discovery information to "automatically" create VLANs on IEEE 802.1Q host-to-switch and switch-to-switch trunks, Arista says. VM Tracer can also support separate VLANs in different departments within an enterprise – for example, laboratory, production and private cloud -- by connecting to multiple vCenters serving those individual departments.

Each vCenter can be assigned a non-overlapping VLAN range for automatic creation and VM segmentation. When a VM is created that violates that assigned range, an alert or alarm is triggered in vCenter, Arista says.

VM Tracer is available now as a separate licence to EOS 4.5 or higher.