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Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'

Craig Matsumoto
2/3/2006
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The retirement of Mario Mazzola and the rest of the former Andiamo Systems crew didn't last long, as they're reportedly working on another startup just months after their departure from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Multiple sources tell Light Reading that Mazzola, Luca Cafiero, Prem Jain, and Soni Jiandani have launched a supersecret San Jose company that they're funding themselves. Reportedly called Nuova Impresa -- Italian for "new enterprise" -- the company has hired about a dozen people and reportedly has refused all offers of VC money, much to the chagrin of many a Silicon Valley financier.

The startup is presumed to be working on a virtualization project in the storage networking space -- at the intersection of storage, networking, and computing.

The idea is that they're trying to "aggregate compute IO from the server and centralize it into a single or small number of network elements, connected back to the servers via a high-speed low-latency ‘closed’ network," one source says. This frees up processor memory and CPU cycles so that larger clusters of servers are possible.

And they're attracting some top-name talent. Another source, requesting anonymity, says Tom Lyon, founder of Ipsilon Networks, has joined. An early contender in IP switching, Ipsilon was acquired by Nokia in 1997. Another recruit, the source says, is J.R. Rivers, the Cisco Distinguished Engineer who led the team developing the Catalyst 3750 enterprise switch.

Light Reading's attempt to reach Mazzola went unanswered. Contacting Nuova Impresa directly is difficult, as the company isn't exactly giving out its number and address -- and one source notes it's not housed in a Cisco-owned building the way Andiamo was. They're getting better at this "stealth" thing, apparently.

Andiamo was funded by Cisco with the intention of being acquired eventually, one of four Cisco spin-ins in the works circa 2001. The four Nuova founders left Cisco in tandem last year, purportedly to retirement. Mazzola had been Cisco's chief development officer, a role that was handed to Charles Giancarlo. The other three were senior vice presidents. (See Cisco’s Secret SAN Strategies Revealed, Cisco Buys Andiamo Finally, and Cisco Names Data Chief.)

Most sources believe Nuova Impresa began life as another Cisco spin-in, but one source says that plan has been scuttled. A newer rumor has the Nuova crowd camped on the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) doorstep instead. It's unknown whether either company invested in Nuova.

Cisco did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Friday afternoon.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Pete Baldwin
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Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:23 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'
Everybody wants to get bought by Google, I'd guess. Not sure the Andiamo clout would impress the Google folks necessarily.

If they really are doing "virtualization," then it makes sense Cisco wouldn't want them as a spin-in, right? Cisco's already working on that stuff...
walter_100
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walter_100,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:22 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'
"I find it very interesting that people with means choose not to invite "smart money" into the stock pool.

Very interesting indeed."

Like that is a surprise? A Series A without a product means you have given 50% of the company away.

Stevery
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Stevery,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:22 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'

I find it very interesting that people with means choose not to invite "smart money" into the stock pool.

Very interesting indeed.
icenine
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icenine,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:22 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'
Google 'Server Virtualization', and you get http://www.cisco.com/en/US/pro... and SVBU.... Cisco checked that box with TopSpin.

This does not smell like a spin-in. This smells like a "I've got enough cash, I don't need a boss". And, "To hell with standards, let's deliver performance."
dbostan
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dbostan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:21 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'
Au contraire...
This is a very smart move, to avoid dilution and VCs meddle into the management of the company.
It sounds more and more interesting.
startup_shutup
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startup_shutup,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:20 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'
Andiamo was a spin-in SCAM ... why can not this be repeated for andiamo-II. Is the time now is different so that spin-in SCAM can not be perpetuated at will by management?
green
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green,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:19 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'
I heard from atleast two ex-andiamo folks who are not too excited about wanting to work again for the andiamo team. when andiamo was bought only the top 16 or so people struck it really rich. the rank and file engineer probably made a year or two years worth of salary. considering they took a paycut when they joined and 80 hr work weeks for 2+ years they don't feel it was worth the trouble. better negotiate properly before jumping to Nuova if anyone is offered a job.

sigint
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sigint,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:19 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'
From the article:
The idea is that they're trying to "aggregate compute IO from the server and centralize it into a single or small number of network elements, connected back to the servers via a high-speed low-latency GÇÿclosedGÇÖ network," one source says. This frees up processor memory and CPU cycles so that larger clusters of servers are possible.
__________________________________________________

Ok, let me admit I'm confused by the above. Part of the confusion arises from my lack of storage expertise.

Can someone acquainted with this space hazard a guess?

Thanks
rambo260
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rambo260,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:19 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'
Anybody know any more about the article mentioning that Mario and the group are being hosted at Google?
sigint
50%
50%
sigint,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:17 AM
re: Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'
greed said:
the rank and file engineer probably made a year or two years worth of salary. considering they took a paycut when they joined and 80 hr work weeks for 2+ years they don't feel it was worth the trouble.
________________________________________

The point is well taken. However, considering the prevailing downturn, was two years salary too bad?
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