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Q&A: Former Cisco VP discusses his plans for Procket Networks

Jan 14, 20043 mins

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Q&A: Former Cisco VP discusses his plans for Procket Networks

By Jim Duffy

Network World, 01/12/04

Six months after losing its CEO, router start-up Procket Networks has landed a new one: Roland Acra, formerly Cisco’s senior vice president and Service Provider CTO. Acra, who reported to Cisco Chief Development Officer Mario Mazzola, jumps to Procket as Cisco keeps the industry waiting for its next-generation high-end router and operating system. On his first day at his new job, Acra shared some thoughts with Network World Managing Editor of The Edge Jim Duffy.

NW: What attracted you to Procket?

Acra: The team, first and foremost. It’s a great bunch of people, a very, very strong networking team. A great technology, great products that are out there shipping. All of the technology risk was now removed from the product despite the very cutting-edge nature of what has gone into the product in terms of silicon innovation and next-generation operating system structures.

The timing was right.Over the next 12 to 18 months there will be an upswing in the market for high-end routers. So being there now and building the sales momentum and focusing on the sales effort is good timing.

NW: How did you view Procket while you were working at Cisco?

Acra: I had the view that they had, by far, the best available technology on the market today. So when it came to technology edge – in terms of performance, density, structural reliability, in terms of what software and hardware architecture underlies the product – the level of silicon integration and innovation is absolutely unique. This is not a feature which somebody else can do in 60 days and say, ‘me too, I’ve got it now.’

Just about everyone I have talked to [at Procket] is the best that there is in the industry – the software folks, the hardware folks, the architects.

NW: Is Procket doing anything technologically that Cisco should emulate?

Acra: Procket [which was founded in 1999] is building its product on a few key premises, which are going to be the definition of what next-generation routers are about: One is a very advanced level of silicon integration, and a combination of speed and feature capability. The integration is important because through the integration into custom chips, you get a lot of savings passed on to the customer. You get a lower price point because of your cost of goods reduction; you get lower power dissipation; you get better density and space usage. And then the ability to have feature programmability at the same time as wire-speed performance means that you’re protected against any new demand your network will place on you in the future.

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