Last week we heard rumblings that there was significant changes happening with Cisco’s onePK personnel and later confirmed that Tom Black the VP at Cisco responsible for building Cisco’s SDN Initiatives has left the company and joined Arista Networks.
We’ve been told that he will lead Arista’s SDN efforts (and Arista’s website says as much) and is actively recruiting a team of engineers to build SDN functionality within Arista. We’re guessing he’ll build 10-20 engineer sized team in the near future and whether and how he builds a traditional SDN controller remains to be seen. To gleen more about Arista’s strategy see our Interview of Jayshree Ullal
What does this mean to:
- Cisco onePK: a significant blow to Cisco’s effort to ‘SDN-ize’ their product lines and provide developers an API into Cisco solutions. My experience suggests that an executive move like this will delay onePK for 6 – 12 months.
- Arista: hiring Tom Black is a significant win, not only did they hire not only a talented individual, but a key person leading their #1 competitor’s SDN execution plans.
SDN Start-ups: Assuming the expected scope and size of his team — Arista just created another well financed SDN start up within the walls of a successful privately funded networking company — that is attached to the some of the most innovative networking hardware. Your competition is taken to a new level.
- Hardware vendors (like Plexxi and Pluribus): for the near term, Arista will likely be your main competition for early customers.
- Controller vendors (Big Switch, Plumgrid, Midokura, etc): Arista maybe your short term partner, but expect them to eventually to be your competitor. Between an internal investment in their own SDN team; Arista’s co-founder, Andy Bechtolsheim is also an investor in Nebula — which smells an awful like an SDN controller to customers we speak with. Check this post out to learn more about other Arista investments.
- Customers: SDN is shaping up to more than just another networking battle resigned to be won by Cisco — between VMware and now Arista — we can see that names other the Cisco are focused to carve our their name in the space. It also means the market will take longer to evolve — as prospective customers wait for solutions to arrive from trusted vendors and not start ups. Our experience is it takes 9 – 12 months to deliver an initial product from start to finish. Assuming Arista is starting with the new hire of Black, we expect Arista will deliver their own SDN solution about this time next year.
We expect to hear more interesting SDN executive moves in the coming days and weeks — which is a sign of a vibrant and dynamic market.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what this means to the SDN customers and adoption.
Check out more about Arista Networks on SDNCentral: (our favorite is an Interview with Jayshree Ullal, Arista Networks CEO)