Ullal Lands in the Cloud

Former Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) exec Jayshree Ullal has picked cloud networking as her next challenge, taking the job as CEO of high-end Ethernet switch vendor Arista Networks Inc.

That's the latest startup founded by Sun Microsystems Inc. star Andy Bechtolsheim (real first name: Andreas), who's leaving Sun to be Arista's chief operating officer. Both appointments got announced this morning. (See Andy B. Joins Arista.)

The startup was originally called Arastra, which is apparently one of these things. There's no word on whether the name change means Arista will get into frightening new audio products.

Bechtolsheim is a founder of Sun, and he's also done his own stint at Cisco, so any startup of his is going to be worth watching. He last crossed Light Reading's path in 2007, talking about IPTV after reconnecting with Sun. (See Sun Finally Illuminates Its IPTV Plans and Cisco Big Bolts for Startup.)

Ullal and Bechtolsheim have known one another for more than 20 years, according to Ullal's blog, and of course Ullal has more than a little familiarity with Ethernet. So, the association isn't a huge surprise.

Her new gig involves 10-Gbit/s Ethernet switches for the data center. Arista has been shipping switches since May, claiming as customers Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) , Northwestern University's International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) , and content delivery networking company BitGravity Inc.

Arista would appear to be in competition with Force10 Networks Inc. and Woven Systems Inc. -- and, of course, with big Ethernet names like Cisco.

Ullal left Cisco abruptly in May. Most observers theorized that she was angling to run a startup; some sources speculated that the new, collaborative management style at Cisco helped nudge her toward her decision. (See Ullal Calls It Quits at Cisco and Is Nuova Needling Cisco's Brass?)

Cisco has lost a few notable executives in the past couple of years. One cause appears to be that John Chambers intends to stick around as CEO to get Cisco through its new phase of collaboration and telepresence.

Chief development officer Charles Giancarlo, now acting as CEO of Avaya Inc. , hinted that a lack of opportunity for upward movement was one reason behind his own resignation. (See Giancarlo Steps in at Avaya, Giancarlo Quits Cisco, Paddles to Silver Lake, and Changes Run Deep at Cisco.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:28:58 PM
re: Ullal Lands in the Cloud This seems like a really, really good fit. Anyone else have any opinions?
dwdm 12/5/2012 | 3:28:58 PM
re: Ullal Lands in the Cloud is Tony Li... :-)
euler 12/5/2012 | 3:28:55 PM
re: Ullal Lands in the Cloud I heard A & J are joining because the place is a mess.... and they're trying to save it before it is too late.
dbostan 12/5/2012 | 3:28:54 PM
re: Ullal Lands in the Cloud @dwdm
Yeahh, and a Procket could happen...
recession2002 12/5/2012 | 3:28:51 PM
re: Ullal Lands in the Cloud People thinks that Jayshree (former Senior VP of Cisco)may bring AristaNetwork a step closer to being acquired by Cisco.
Less likely it will happen. It is not like the old day that Cisco will always buy company run by exec Cisco SVP.
In this market, who would like to try something new.
I don't see anything big deal on their technology.
Not sure they can weather the storm.
It is not riverbed in the past (not in good shape this day), at least it offered something cool on WAN/Application acceleration. What does AristaNetwork offers? Cloud computing or network. There is so much cloud there before you cansee the network.
The best strategy now is package it and sell it.
bill2222 12/5/2012 | 3:28:50 PM
re: Ullal Lands in the Cloud I've dealt with Arista Networks and have had no evidence the place was a mess - quite the contrary: they've only hired the best, and their product is amazing. It's refreshing to see innovations on the software side, and a credible alternative to imperfect IOS!
netuser39 12/5/2012 | 3:28:38 PM
re: Ullal Lands in the Cloud Oh, that's a lame rumor. A friend of mine has tested their products and spoken to their engineers. From what I can tell, they have a rockstar engineering team in addition to the two big shots they've just landed. Makes the switching world interesting again!
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:28:12 PM
re: Ullal Lands in the Cloud For those who missed it - check out the star treatment given Arista by the Mercury News on Sunday:

rahat.hussain 12/5/2012 | 3:28:11 PM
re: Ullal Lands in the Cloud Craig - That's a great article, probably because there is something unique in terms of the business model. They have gathered a great team and funded the company without VC money! Kudos to them.


p.s.: I am amused by how netuser39 and bill2222 quickly logged in with new id's to comment positively on Arista. Clearly Arista has a great PR/Mktg department!
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