Arista Partners: Our Business Is Booming As Competition With Cisco Heats Up


Fresh off a hot June debut on the New York Stock Exchange that made it one of the most buzzed-about networking companies in Silicon Valley, Arista Networks is turning up the heat on competitors such as Cisco Systems. And, according to Arista partners, the company now has the channel chops to back that up.

"They are a very hot up-and-coming company and, because of that, we are seeing a lot of traction and we are seeing a lot of growth," said Jason Gress, co-founder and president of InterVision Systems, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based Arista partner. "In a very short period of time, we have seen a lot of customer interest and a lot of opportunity with Arista." 

Founded in 2004, Arista specializes in what it calls "cloud networking" for the data center. The Santa Clara-based company offers a range of low-latency, modular switches based on merchant silicon and running its own Linux-based software called the Arista Extensible Operating System (EOS).

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EOS is the secret sauce, according to Arista, that makes its data center architectures more scalable, more programmable and more interoperable with third-party network management and automation tools than competing architectures from the likes of Cisco or Juniper Networks.

And, judging by Arista's growth, it's an approach that's working.

In an S-1 form Arista filed in March with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosing plans to go public, Arista said its revenue in 2013 soared 87 percent year over year, totaling $361.2 million. Net income for 2013 nearly doubled, growing from $21.3 million to $42.5 million in the course of that same year.

Arista said its customer base has grown from 570 customers in 2010 to roughly 2,340 by December 2013, among them tech heavyweights Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo. 

Solution providers, meanwhile, say they are seeing similar growth in their own Arista business, with the company's switches, in some cases, even displacing legacy Cisco or Juniper infrastructures.

John Quinn, vice president of sales, North America, at IGX Global, a Rocky Hill, Conn.-based Arista partner, said IGX did more than $7 million in Arista sales between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2014. IGX expects Arista sales to accelerate this year, he said.  

"It has grown exponentially," Quinn said of IGX's Arista business. "As our product portfolio has grown and our global enterprise accounts have grown to where there is a lot of data center consolidation, and SDN and cloud requirements -- which is kind for where the industry is going -- we absolutely see growth in Arista technology."

Arista switches are selling especially well into Web 2.0 and financial services companies, Quinn said, which demand the level of scale and speed Arista technology provides. 

Andrew Fisher, CEO of Myriad Supply, a New York-based Arista partner, said Myriad Supply already has done more Arista business in the first half of 2014 than it did in all of 2013.

"We are on pace to double, but my expectation is that we will do three to four times what we did last year and that’s because there is certainly growth within existing customers, but we are also picking up new customers," Fisher told CRN.

Fisher agreed that Arista seems to have a significant foothold in financial services, but noted that adoption also is picking up pace within the enterprise.

"A nanosecond can make the difference between getting your trade executed and not, and so the ROI on buying [Arista] switches over something that is even just a hair slower is significant," Fisher said. "Arguably, [financial services] is a pretty tough vertical to find success in. So I think when people saw [Arista's] prevalence in that vertical, they started scratching their heads and saying, 'Wow, we need to find out what that's all about.' "

An executive at another Arista partner, who asked not to be named, said his company's Arista business is on track to grow tenfold this year compared with 2013. The partner said he expects his company's Arista sales, coupled with sales from other companies that Arista is partnering with, such as Palo Alto Networks, is expected to grow from between $8 million and $10 million to $40 million in "very short order."

"When you look at what [Arista] has put together, and the way they are positioning it, I think a lot of customers are of the mindset now that they would look at it as an alternative to Cisco," he said.

NEXT: Arista 'A Thorn In Cisco's Side'?