A deal would boost Arista’s multicloud capabilities as it competes with Cisco, others
According to multiple reports, Arista Networks is buying Big Switch Networks, a company that rose rapidly over the past several years as software-defined networking (SDN) began to take hold in enterprise data centers.
The Lowdown: The reports in SDXCentral and FierceTelecom said that Arista beat out a number of other tech vendors, including Dell Technologies, Juniper Networks, Extreme Networks, and VMware, all of which held multiple meetings with Big Switch over the past several months.
The Details: Officials with Arista and Big Switch have declined to comment on the reports, which cited unnamed sources.
A deal would mark Arista’s third acquisition after buying Mojo Networks (for cloud-managed Wi-Fi) and Metamako (field-programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs) in 2018. Having Big Switch in the fold would boost Arista’s capabilities in mulitcloud environments and help it better compete with Cisco and other networking vendors. Enterprises increasingly are adopting mulitcloud strategies and need a way to monitor their data and applications in such environments.
Big Switch launched in 2010, offering networking software that could run on third-party vendor hardware. The idea behind SDN is to decouple the control plane and networking tasks like load balancing and routing from the underlying hardware to make networks easier and faster to program.
Big Switch, which sells solely through the channel, was able to make inroads with vendors like Dell, which cut a deal with the Santa Clara, California-based company six years ago to run its software on Dell’s open networking switches. The company is best known for its Big Cloud Fabric switching fabric for both on-premises data centers and cloud-native applications. It also offers its Big Monitoring Fabric for hybrid cloud visibility and security.
Last year, the company also unveiled hybrid cloud solutions to bring cloud-like capabilities to data centers and extend them to the cloud.
No price was disclosed, though Big Switch has raised $120 million since its founding, according to Crunchbase. For its part, Arista saw its shares jump in price the first half of 2019 but then decline as the year wore on. Its due to report earnings Feb. 13.
The Impact: Both Arista and Big Switch do a lot of business through the channel. Partners with expertise in multicloud and hybrid cloud environments, as well next-generation networking, could see a boost in opportunities from a combined Arista and Big Switch. As part of its cloud-first strategy, Big Cloud works with cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
The company also has a broad array of technology partners, from Dell EMC and VMware to Nutanix, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Red Hat, and Palo Alto Networks. It’s unclear how an acquisition by Arista would impact those alliances.
Background: Enterprises increasingly are adopting multicloud strategies. According to a recent Gartner survey of public cloud users, 81% said they are using two or more providers.
The Buzz: “Arista is trying to move into new territory in the cloud industry, specifically going after organizations that want to build their own private data center and cloud service for personal use,” Nicholas Rossolillo wrote in The Motley Fool. “As public cloud data center buildouts from the likes of Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure mature over time, this new discipline could help Arista maintain its fast pace of expansion.