Arista Networks Shares Soar On Hot IPO Debut

Shares of Arista Networks soared Friday after the Santa Clara, Calif.-based networking company and Cisco rival made its public trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Arista shares jumped as much as 35 percent on Friday and, as of press time, were up 32 percent to $56.83.

Arista Thursday priced its initial public offering of 5,250,000 share at $43, raising $226 million.

[Related: EMC, VMware Team With Cisco Rival Arista As Software-Defined Networking Battle Heats Up ]

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Arista's hot IPO debut, which puts its market cap at around $3.7 billion, comes as the company prepares for a legal battle with co-founder David Cheriton. Optumsoft, another company Cheriton created, alleged in an April filing with the California Superior Court that Arista has violated a licensing agreement related to the use of Optumsoft development software called TACC.

Optumsoft is claiming that Arista has breached the agreement because it has "refused to acknowledge Optumsoft's ownership of TACC-Related Work" and has shared TACC source code with Arista customers, the filing said.

Cheriton resigned from the Arista board on March 1.

Arista declined CRN's request for comment, but said in its IPO filing it plans to "vigorously defend" itself against Optumsoft's claims.

Andy Bechtolsheim, Arista's other co-founder, is still with the company as chairman and chief development officer. Bechtolsheim previously was the founder and chief system architect at Sun Microsystems and, before that, founder and president of Granite Systems, a networking startup acquired by Cisco in 1996.

Arista is also led by CEO and former Cisco executive Jayshree Ullal. Before joining Arista in 2008, Ullal was senior vice president of Cisco's $10 billion data center switching and services group.

Founded in 2004, Arista has emerged as a top Cisco competitor in the low-latency switch market. It makes a range of modular switches that run its own Linux-based Extensible Operating System (EOS) software.

Last November, Arista unveiled a new line of switches just two days before Cisco launched its new Nexus 9000 and ACI technology for software-defined networks.

An executive at one Cisco solution provider, who asked not to be named, said he only expects the Arista-Cisco rivalry to intensify, especially as Arista gains more and more traction in the market.

"Andy [Bechtolsheim] is one of the smartest guys in Silicon Valley and he is the one who has made it his mission to stay about two-and-a-half to three years ahead of Cisco in terms of port density," the partner said. "They are just going to continue to be a thorn in Cisco's side."

In its IPO filing, Arista said its revenue in 2013 was $361.2 million, up 86.6 percent compared to 2012.