Arista Networks files for IPO, ups the ante against Cisco

wall street wall st stop sign black and white urban city NYC financial districtArista Networks, a Santa Clara-based maker of programmable Ethernet switches on a mission to dethrone Cisco, has finally filed the paperwork for its long-anticipated IPO. The firm did not disclose the number of shares to be sold or an expected price, and didn’t provide a date, but revealed that it’s looking to raise $200 million. Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are leading the offering.

The ten-year-old Arista saw its revenue increase at a compound annual growth rate of 71 percent from 2010 through 2013 on the back of explosive demand among large enterprises and Internet companies. It counts both of its underwriters as customers, in addition to a long list of household brands including Comcast, BBC and StumbleUpon. The company generated a profit of $42.5 million on sales of $361.2 million last year, which is quite impressive compared to the financials of some of the other high-profile technology companies that have also filed for an IPO recently – namely Box.

“Arista Networks has steadily built itself from a niche vendor to a significant player in the networking market with a strong software-led architecture that is well positioned for the demands of cloud, mobile and big data.” says Wikibon Senior Analyst Stu Miniman. “Artista’s early deployments in HPC environments allowed the company to build solutions that meet the programmability, high performance, low latency and scalability that more and more customers need today.”

The driving force behind Arista’s success is CEO Jayshree Ullal, who joined the company in 2008 after a stint running Cisco’s $10 billion data center switching business. She’s now spearheading an all-out offensive against her former employer and the old way of doing things in the corporate network.

“This new combination of best-of-breed applications transacting over the network and bringing in the right resources – workload mobility, storage and compute – is fundamentally changing the way networks are deployed. They just can’t be static anymore,” Ullal said in an interview on SiliconANGLE’s theCUBE back at VMworld 2012.

This new paradigm requires a completely different approach to networking, according to Ullal. “The enterprise is no longer a monolithic stack, it’s about bringing openness and programmability to every aspect of our resources and applications, she said. Taking a potshot at Cisco, she added that “Arista began with software and it’s the only one in the industry that can challenge anybody who says they have a software-defined network, but it’s really an enterprise network that’s been spun into a software-defined network.”

Arista will trade under the ticker “ANET” after going public. Reuters cited industry analysts as saying that the offering could propel the company’s valuation to $2.5 billion, a figure that speaks to the maturity of software-defined networking and the bright road ahead.

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