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Bechtolsheim's baby Arista Networks soars in stock market debut

Networking firm mints big bucks as Cisco execs stare in blank terror at stock screens

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Arista Networks has gained in its stock market debut, likely causing some employees at networking giant Cisco's competitive intelligence team to put together some slides on what the implications of a wealthy, publicly-listed competitor are for networking incumbents.

Arista's stock increased 33 per cent on its debut day to $57 per share from an opening price of $43 per share, bringing in $225.8m dollars for the company.

Arista Networks makes networking equipment that is used by choosy, technically sophisticated customers such as Facebook, Equinix, Rackspace, and others.

It represents a threat to traditional network companies like Cisco, Juniper, and Brocade because it has always specialized in developing the software for its products independently of its hardware, giving its technology greater flexibility relative to rivals who are only now waking to the possibilities of, as marketers call it, software-defined networking.

When Arista told the US Securities and Exchange Commission at the end of March that it planned to IPO it revealed that it had been profitable for the past four years, which is refreshing given the profit-shy tendencies for other tech startups such as Box.

Arista Networks was founded in 2004 and shipped its first product in 2008. Its chairman is Sun Microsystems's co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim who, in his later life, has turned into a kind of human money-printing machine imparting many of the techs he touches with good fortune. Another one of his startups, DSSD, was recently acquired by storage giant EMC for an undisclosed sum. ®

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