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Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021!!

Jayshree Ullal
by Jayshree Ullal on Dec 30, 2020 6:00:00 AM

I don’t know about you but I am eagerly looking forward to the new year erasing all the negativity and losses that 2020 brought to our broader lives, health and the global economy. Today I digress to make some predictions on the post-pandemic era that are likely to change the way we live, learn, work and play, blending the lines between those distinct functions we had once partitioned.

Prediction #1: The Move to Elastic Workspaces

In the past decade we relied on headquarters and concrete office buildings to house our employees. The traffic and commute during peak hours required us to plan ahead and allow enough time to reach our intended destinations. I believe that COVID-19 has now changed the distinction between home and the office. As we migrate from work at the office being mainstream to work from home becoming the new norm, it redefines the campus office into virtual and elastic workspaces. Whether it is our home, coffee shop or transit, the advent of real-time streaming, collaborative applications and ubiquitous internet/WiFi access to every home makes our workspaces more flexible and distributed. I predict that working from home, once considered a privilege, is likely to become the default.

Prediction #2: Of Course It’s the Cloud!

Arista was founded based on pioneering the cloud networking revolution a decade ago, but now cloud-based principles must be brought to every aspect of client to cloud enterprises. This seamless network mobility became crucial as workloads were driven from homes to exchanges to public cloud, reinforcing the power of access and communication and enabling billions of workflows for real-time communications. The cloud has become the internet and lifeline of all communications, not only for public cloud titans, but for every aspect of communications. Whether it’s a data cloud, HPC cloud, 5G or RAN (Radio Access Network) cloud or health care cloud, data centers are all becoming cloud based and data driven.

Prediction #3: Online is Pervasive

In the prior decade we all racked up millions of miles and elevated our mileage status on different airlines and frankly I was getting burned out on travel, red-eyes, airport delays and overheads. As we enter 2021, while I cannot wait to meet many of you again, my friends, customers and family, we will rethink and prioritize our travel. The future promises to be a hybrid world of communications, where we will travel only if we must for business. Leveraging the power of video and online collaboration, making household tools of Zoom, Teams, Hangouts, etc., is not only the case in corporate business but is also finding applications in retail, banking, telemedicine and education.

Prediction #4: Innovation Trumps Legacy

COVID-19 also taught us all how to make decisions virtually via remote access to labs and equipment. Many of our customers used 2020 to take the time to learn and plan instead of reacting. 

It is a mandate for every CIO of Enterprises. The workloads of the 21st century are changing the face of next generation cloud networking. Arista’s cognitive platforms are game changers in cloud networking, not only suited to mega scale titans but now accessible to every remote premise, campus or enterprise workspace across any cloud. Our customers are recognizing the power of virtual training, proof of concept testing and key decisions or resolutions that can indeed be made in reduced time.

Prediction #5: From Security Silos to Secure

The recent attacks of Sunburst and pervasive malware have been wake-up calls to the security industry. Best described by the CIO of one of our customers, CIOs are becoming increasingly concerned about Security as it has become more complex.  To make matters worse, sponsored groups can steal intellectual property and attack resources that are now in the wild. Big companies and banks are still getting hacked and IoT is a huge threat. We need to reboot security and make it simple to manage. “I believe Arista Networks is simplifying security,” stated Golan Ben-Oni, CIO, IDT Corporation. Arista’s recent acquisitions of Big Switch Networks for visibility and Awake Security for AI-driven threat hunting couldn’t be better suited to transform networks from point security to secure cognitive networks.

Looking Ahead to 2021

How does one truly recover from a once in a century pandemic? Perhaps some things will change with the imminent arrival of vaccines to reduce the loss of lives which is very welcome. Yet some things may never be the same again. How much of our business travel is truly essential? Will we go back to work in the office 100%? Is online communication now an embedded part of our daily lives? Will household pets, the biggest benefactors of our time at home, continue to get extra companionship? 

As we look ahead to 2021, I believe we will never completely revert to the way we were. The lines between work and home are blurring.

Perhaps there are some important lessons learned as we appreciate not only the imposed life-style balance, but also from helping the underprivileged, needy and small businesses thrive in the post pandemic era. A special recognition to all our Arista and worldwide essential workers who prioritized their work to help the larger cause. I wish our readers, well-wishers, customers and employees a safe and happy new year and look forward to a safe and COVID-free 2021.


Opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of Arista Networks. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Arista Networks or any other party.

Jayshree Ullal
Written by Jayshree Ullal
As CEO and Chairperson of Arista, Jayshree Ullal is responsible for Arista's business and thought leadership in AI and cloud networking. She led the company to a historic and successful IPO in June 2014 from zero to a multibillion-dollar business. Formerly Jayshree was Senior Vice President at Cisco, responsible for a $10B business in datacenter, switching and services. With more than 40 years of networking experience, she is the recipient of numerous awards including E&Y's "Entrepreneur of the Year" in 2015, Barron's "World's Best CEOs" in 2018 and one of Fortune's "Top 20 Business persons" in 2019. Jayshree holds a B.S. in Engineering (Electrical) and an M.S. degree in engineering management. She is a recipient of the SFSU and SCU Distinguished Alumni Awards in 2013 and 2016.

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