Originally posted on Gigaom:
The normally staid and somewhat boring world of networking equipment focused startups is become a hotly contested minefield — thanks to the newest kid on the blog, Insiemi, a company started by Cisco (s csco) veterans Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, and Luca Cafiero. It is spreading money like an old rich uncle and is trying to acquire as much talent it can scoop up from rivals, who no doubt are hopping mad.
The company is building a new very high-speed data center switch along with a software management platform. This is a really hot market — massive data center build outs have already made Arista Networks, a high-speed ethernet switch company co-founded by Andy Bechtolsheim, an IPO candidate for early 2013. In the early-stage startup scene Nicira, a company building a controller for scaled out programmable networks, has been the victim of corporate espionage and other vendors such as Big Switch are gearing up their marketing efforts to discredit rivals.
Arista’s success (which is spearheaded by former Cisco executive Jayshree Ullal) and the threat that commodity networking gear and programmable networks poses to its business has made Cisco aware that it needs to increase its footprint in the data center business. As a result, it has put three of its senior people — Mazzola, Jain, and Cafiero — on the job. Their mission is clear — get Cisco into this market fast, and then be rewarded with millions.