We know Cisco has a brand and reputation which companies will pay more for. They are a marketing machine in a market where most of the competition does not know how to market consistently. Even with such a solid reputation, when times are good, people will look at Cisco alternatives if the price is right.
When you get into a tougher economy, people might look to alternatives as well — as long as they trust the company will be around.
This is why I am wondering with great interest if Arista Networks formerly known as Arasta can take on Cisco successfully with products which are one-tenth the cost of their larger competitor. The company makes high-performance 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Cloud Networking Solutions which self-heal and other interesting software enhancements.
Recently I discussed how buyers are more skittish than ever about buying from smaller companies that may not be around for the long-haul. I even offered advice to smaller companies which will help them navigate tougher financial conditions.
But Arista is differentiating themselves in another way, by hiring Jayshree Ullal as President and CEO and Andreas Bechtolsheim as CDO and Chairman.
Jayshree Ullal was previously Senior Vice President of Cisco Systems and responsible for the $10B Datacenter, Switching and Services Group while Andreas Bechtolsheim is a well-known Silicon Valley entrepreneur. He was also a Co-Founder of Sun Microsystems and a Senior Vice President and Chief Architect for the Systems Group at Sun. From 1996 to 2003, Andy was Vice President and General Manager of the Gigabit Systems Business Unit at Cisco Systems.
So can these guys pull it off? It is soon to tell but since the company is not well-known, they will have their work cut out for them. I do beleive Arista’s price point affords them the potential to get trials in data centers. If they can come out swinging with follow-up branding to the positive press these hires has given them, they can potentially make a dent in a fast-growing market.
In the mean time, it is good to see companies looking for “cloud networking” solutions will have stronger choices than ever.