Sun Co-Founder, Ex-Cisco Exec Land At Networking Startup Arista

Andreas von Bechtolsheim, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, is joining Arista as chairman and chief development officer. Arista, formerly known as Arastra, has also named Jayshree Ullal president and CEO. Ullal left Cisco in May after serving as senior vice president in charge of the $10 billion data center, switching and services group.

"The new era of cloud computing requires fundamental improvements in capacity, latency and cost performance over existing enterprise network solutions," said Bechtolsheim in a statement. "Arista is developing highly scalable, reliable and cost-effective cloud networking solutions for large-scale Web and enterprise data centers to address these requirements."

Arista was founded by Bechtolsheim and David Cheriton, a professor of engineering at Stanford University, who were also early investors in Google.

Bechtolsheim co-founded Sun in 1982 with Vinod Khosla, Bill Joy and Scott McNealy. He left the company in 1995 and from 1996 to 2003, he was vice president and general manager of the gigabit systems business unit at Cisco. He rejoined Sun in 2004 as senior vice president and chief architect for the systems group when Sun bought Kealia, another company he helped found.

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Sun issued a statement saying Bechtolsheim will remain in a part-time relationship with Sun. "Sun can confirm that Andy will remain with Sun to continue his present involvement with the Sun Systems group in helping to drive new product architectures, including X64 servers and storage servers, and will continue to work on key strategic initiatives such as HPC," the statement said. "Andy will move to part-time work status and spend the remainder of his time involved in the start-up community where he worked prior to re-joining Sun in 2004."

Arista was founded to deliver "Cloud Networking" solutions, a term the company has even trademarked. It offers 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches and its own Extensible Operating System (EOS) software infrastructure (also trademarked).

Said Ullal in a statement: "I am delighted to join Arista. The combination of an outstanding team, innovative hardware and software technology and the Cloud Networking vision drew me to this company. I look forward to creating a unique focus for our strategic customers, partners and channels."

Ullal joined Cisco in 1993 when the company acquired Crescendo Communications. Upon leaving Cisco in May, she wrote in a blog post, "With mixed feeling and much introspection, I have come to my decision to leave Cisco after 15 great and memorable years. My loyalty and affection to Cisco, CEO John Chambers and my teams made this a very difficult and lengthy decision process."

Arista also said Thursday that three customers have deployed its Cloud Networking platform.

"In the upcoming era of cloud computing, the Web will be much more than just a means of delivering content—it will be a platform in its own right, requiring an extremely scalable cloud networking infrastructure," Ullal said in a statement. "A similar transformation is happening in the enterprise where many customers are consolidating existing data centers into much larger virtualized computing clouds. We look forward to working with customers of all sizes to solve these important networking challenges."

EOS' unique modular state-sharing design enables self-healing and in-service software updates across the entire network without interruption, according to Arista. In addition, EOS enables third-party extensions for network management integration and automation.

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) chose Arista 7100 Series switches to cost-effectively scale their networking capabilities, according to Mark Seager, assistant department head for advanced technology of LLNL's Computation Directorate.

"We selected the Arista switches because they provide the low latency, high density and reliability requirements our cluster, storage and network infrastructure require," Seager said in a statement "The Arista switch technology allows us to explore and develop the petascale computing capabilities vital to our future research endeavors and advances high-performance computing."