Cloud of Hardware

When we think of the cloud, we usually think of software. As developers, we rarely spend any brain-cells thinking about the hard-aspects of the technology that has empowered the innovation in the cloud. However, to run all that software in the sky, there needs to be some underlying network infrastructure in place on the ground, and there are a few companies that are doing a wonderful job at that.

Jayshree Ullal, President, and CEO of Arista Networks is someone who I have come to really admire recently. Before Arista, she was a senior VP at Cisco, where she built a ten-billion dollar business line in revenues. After 15 years at Cisco, she joined Arista, which was a 30-person startup in 2008 (founded in 2004 by Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim), and grew its revenues to two billion dollars in ten years. She took Arista public in 2014, and the stock price has soared by almost 500% in the last 5 years. It’s a really impressive career path.

I came across this interview of hers at the Internet Summit in 2016 and thought it was worthy of sharing, offering many insights in networking, software, leadership, technology and much more. She explores low-level technological details as well as high-level, abstract management strategies. It’s a really good interview, especially if you are a software developer.


Arista also partners with Microsoft, and supports the cloud infrastructure of Azure. It’s been a long and strong partnership spanning over a decade. Azure has grown rapidly in the Nadella-era of Microsoft, and has redefined the public cloud. Arista has become a critical foundation to enable the scale, reach, reliability, and performance that have become synonymous with the Azure cloud. Last week, she interviewed Satya Nadella, which is also a fascinating conversation.

Earlier this year, she delivered an excellent talk on entrepreneurship at TiECon, which dives into crisis/lawsuits faced by the company, product quality, customer support, culture, doing the right thing, engineering and much more.