Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit

Earlier this month, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) quietly reshuffled its Optical Networking Group (ONG).

So far, the only outwardly noticeable effect of the reorganization is the fact that Cisco has said it will close its Hagersten, Sweden, photonics unit (see Cisco Intends to Close Swedish Plant). [Ed. note: For any Swedish officials reading this, the company said it "intends" to close these facilities, so as not to cross your labor laws.]

Cisco maintains that its product roadmap and technology vision remain the same. It also says no other jobs or facilities will be affected besides the 60-plus employees it intends to eliminate in Sweden.

Cisco's ONG realignment is mostly cosmetic. The company can't say specifically where it has changed or intensified spending, focus, or personnel.

"As Cisco pursues market-leading positions in the multi-service switching platform (MSSP) and metro segments of the optical networking market, we will continue to focus on increasing our market share within the available market," writes a Cisco spokeperson in an email exchange with Light Reading. Does that clear things up? Thought so.

Cisco's intentions regarding its Swedish plant "didn't come as a surprise," according to Anders Lundberg, CEO of Lumentis AB. "Cisco probably has some very good reasons to consolidate and bring their optical people and products together back in the States. From that point of view, I personally don't think that this has anything to do with Sweden as a location."

Internally, Cisco has moved some things around. Its optical group is now made up of three main areas, with each area head reporting to Jayshree Ullal, the senior VP of Cisco's ONG.

The first group, ONG operations, will be led by former Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (FNC) executive Ron Martin, who joined Cisco in May 2002 (see Fujitsu's Martin Joins Cisco).

The company's ONG product area will be led by three executives. Tom Fallon will lead the ONS 15300 series products. The main product in this group is the 15327, a small Sonet add/drop multiplexer (ADM) that replaces the discontinued ONS 15303 and ONS 15304, according to Cisco's Website.

Massimo Prati is in charge of the ONS 15500 series metro DWDM boxes and its 15600 multiservice provisioning platforms. Gary Baldwin will assume control of Cisco's ONS 15400 series products, which include the ONS 15454 Sonet ADM.

Finally, the division's product planning and photonics areas will be headed by Rajiv Ramaswami, who joined Cisco in September 2002. He was formerly VP for systems architecture at Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT).

ONG was formerly split into four business units – Metropolitan, Optical Transport, Optical Management, and Photonics.

Cisco says it remains committed to ONG but won't say what its group or product revenues are, and it won't comment on how ONG performs financially, relative to the company's other product groups.

Cisco's overall headcount dropped to 35,566 in mid 2002, down about 10 percent from its year-ago total of 39,660.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com Movers and shakers from more than 100 companies – including Cisco Systems – will be speaking at Lightspeed Europe. Check it out at Lightspeed Europe 02.

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zettabit 12/4/2012 | 9:26:45 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit What is surprising in the LR story is that there appears to be no mention of the long-haul DWDM products that Cisco acquired a few years ago? The key products from that part of the Cisco ONG family were the 15800-series long-haul DWDM systems, that still are on the Cisco web site.

LightReading - can you follow-up with Cisco on this and provide a follow-up that clarifies their plans for (1) this aspect of the market, and (2) specifically what is happening to these products, and that part of the ONG group whose engineering team is still primarily in Milan.

To any Cisco ONG employees - can you shed some insight on whether this product line is still being supported, or othyerwise axed.

Given that Cisco was never successful in converting the chaotic and market-lagging Pirelli LH business into a catogory leader, and also given where the long-haul market is right now, it would not be surprising to see this part of the portfolio being either dropped or capped in terms of investment.

Certainly this is a big missing piece of any re-organization of Cisco's ONG.
lilgatsby 12/4/2012 | 9:26:44 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit zettabit -

It was my understanding that CSCO flushed this product around a year ago. I had heard the product line was flawed in more ways than a simple lack of marketing effort. Perhaps my second-hand information can be confirmed or disputed by someone?

zhadum 12/4/2012 | 9:26:44 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit I read five names, but three heads are supposed to report to Ullal. Martin is one, Ramaswami another. Who heads up the product group ?

LR: clarifications ?

Good question about Pirelli - if you "intend to close" Swedish operations, the Italians should not be far behind.

zhadum 12/4/2012 | 9:26:43 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit how many people at the pirelli unit ? anybody know.
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 9:26:41 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit Cisco's choice of personnel is simply amazing and it does not fit any known business model. For example, Jayshree Ullal has no expertise in optical networking and yet she has been appointed to head the Optical Network Group. These actions do not inspire the confidence of people/organizations doing business with Cisco.
fiber_r_us 12/4/2012 | 9:26:41 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit Gasp! I find myself agreeing with Bobby when it comes to Jayshree... she doesn't have a clue!
AAL5 12/4/2012 | 9:26:40 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit fiber_r_us,

Do not be surprised. Bobby uses a 'shotgun' approach to being critical of other companies/people/products. He blasts such a wide area with his negative comments occasionally some of them hit.

Its purely by chance though, as Booby is not in any way rational.

dwdmguy 12/4/2012 | 9:26:39 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit For all the Cisco haters in the world:

Pirelli gear has not been "flushed" or EoL'd.
The 15808 is less than 1 year old and continues to be Cisco's entry into the battered LH DWDM market.
Cisco continues to sell channels on the older 15800/01 "Pirelli WaveMux" just like Ciena sells channels on the CoreStream.

Hell, Cisco even has >30 customers for their LH DWDM. How many does Ciena have lilgatsby?

The group in Milan is very much alive

Cisco will stay in the LH market in order to complete their "end-to-end" network portfolio in combining optical, IP, ATM, and SAN. It must cost them very little to keep the 1580x alive if all they are selling is channel adds and a new link every now and again.

For all of you Xtera, Celion, Ceyba, Innovance guys hoping and praying that Cisco picks you to be their next LH acquistion, keep praying because if they do buy you it will be for pennies on the dollar after you are out of cash.

Jayshree seems to have her act together with the hirings of Ron Martin and Rajiv Ramaswami. She can let those 2 guys run the shop. And yes, both of these men do know what they are doing.
fiber_r_us 12/4/2012 | 9:26:38 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit How can cisco pick up companies for "pennies on the dollar"? All of the people would be long gone and the product wouldn't be worth anything. Are there any examples of a company picking up a failed system company startup and selling thier product? I can't think of any.
benson 12/4/2012 | 9:26:32 PM
re: Cisco 'Realigns' Optical Unit To all the Cisco-haters;

dwdmguy is right. My company supplies optical components to both the 15800 (original Pirelli system) as well as the 15808. Both systems are still selling, albeit at a slow rate, given the market.

The group in Milan is now serving as a type of optical technology center for the entire ONG of Cisco. In other words, they are not just developing the LH DWDM system any more. They're hatching something new, but I can't say. Stay tuned.

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