Cisco challenger Arista files for IPO; S-1 shows strong growth, profits

|About: Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO)|By:, SA News Editor

Arista Networks, a maker of low-latency/high-density Ethernet switches aiming to upend Cisco's (CSCO +0.8%) dominant data center market position, has filed for a $200M IPO under the symbol ANET. Morgan Stanley and Citi are the lead underwriters.

Arista's S-1 reveals the company had 2013 revenue of $361.2M (+87% Y/Y), and net income of $20.8M. Analysts previously estimated Arista's 2013 sales would be above $300M, and that the company could see a $2.5B IPO valuation. Opex rose 87% Y/Y to $172.4M.

In addition to port densities and latency, Arista's hardware is differentiated through the use of a modular, Linux-based OS (EOS) built to handle the needs of massive data centers, and capable of interacting with software from VMware (previous), Microsoft, and others.

Like Cisco, the rise of software-defined networking (SDN) platforms supporting commodity hardware pose a challenge to Arista. Also like Cisco, Arista has been trying to address the issue in part by making its switches more programmable (via APIs).

Om Malik, writiing about Arista in 2011: "There are many parallels between Arista and Juniper. Both of them are taking on Cisco Systems in its core businesses ... Both of them picked a “niche” instead of taking on Cisco head-on.  Both companies wrote their own network operating systems ... Both companies bet on industry defining megatrends."