Feeds

Bechtolsheim: The server is not the network

Whatever Cisco says

Intelligent flash storage arrays

HPC on Wall Street Andy Bechtolsheim knows a thing or two about servers, storage, and networking. He co-founded workstation and server maker Sun Microsystems as well as two networking companies: one that he sold to Cisco and became the basis of its Gigabit Ethernet biz, and another that he recently started and runs while working one day a week at Sun.

And when he gives one of the keynote addresses at today's HPC on Wall Street event in New York, one of the themes will be that there is lots of room for innovation among stand-alone network equipment providers.

Prior to the event, Bechtolsheim took some time to yack on the phone with El Reg about his company, Arista Networks, which is carving out a niche for itself as a supplier of 10 Gigabit Ethernet products that have the low latency and low cost that supercomputer and other high-performance computing shops - particularly the financial services firms running trading and market data systems where every microsecond counts.

Bechtolsheim has a longer and deeper history in networking than he does in servers at this point, and he's well aware of how the two play off each other in various computing environments. He was working as a PhD student on a project to integrate networking interfaces with microprocessors while at Stanford University when he was tapped by Sun's other co-founders, Scott McNealy and Vinod Khosla, to be the upstart's first chief technology officer.

He stuck around Sun as CTO until 1995, when he left to start a company called Granite Systems, which made Gigabit Ethernet switches and which was flipped a little more than a year later when Bechtolsheim sold it to Cisco Systems. The Granite Systems products eventually evolved into the Catalyst 4000 series of switches at Cisco, and Bechtolsheim was the general manager of this product line at Cisco.

In 2001, Bechtolsheim caught the entrepreneurial bug again, and he saw the InfiniBand switched fabric as the next place to make some money and have a technological impact. And so he founded another startup called Kealia, which created the "Galaxy" line of Opteron-based blade servers, the "Magnum" monster InfiniBand switch, and the "Thumper" X4500 storage servers that came to market individually after Sun bought Kealia in early 2004 and made Bechtolsheim CTO of its server biz. The original vision that Kealia had, of course, was for an integrated blade and storage platform with an InfiniBand backbone, something Sun is selling as the Constellation System to HPC and media streaming customers.

While Sun was busily peddling the Constellation System and open sourcing its entire software stack, including Solaris and Java, Bechtolsheim caught the entrepreneurial bug yet again, and this time was smitten by 10 Gigabit Ethernet. As El Reg reported last October when Arista came out of startup mode, while Bechtolsheim was still at Sun - and with its permission - he started up a 10GE switching company originally called Arastra. Last fall, the company changed its name to Arista Networks just as he hired Jayshree Ullal, formerly senior vice president of the datacenter, switching, and services group at Cisco, to be president and chief executive officer with Bechtolsheim reprising his role as CTO and founder.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.