Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside

On the heels of his company's first product launch, founder John Yu has stepped down as chief technology officer of Hammerhead Systems Inc., marking the second time a senior technical member has left his post at the edge-switch startup.

Just three weeks ago, Hammerhead debuted its HSX 6000, which targets the multiservice edge space. The 1/4-rack, 120-Gbit/s box focuses on Layer 2 traffic rather than the Layer 3 approach pursued by competitors like Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT). (See Hammerhead Strikes at the Edge.)

Yu is not completely ditching the startup, according to Hammerhead officials. A Hammerhead spokeswoman confirms Yu has left the CTO position but notes that he is "still affiliated with the company," working on projects to establish Hammerhead's presence in Asia. Hammerhead has no plans to seek a replacement, she says.

Yu's departure follows that of Jan Medved, the company's chief architect. One source says Medved left quietly some months ago, his departure noted only because of his sudden absence at standards meetings.

Hammerhead isn't giving reasons for Medved's departure or Yu's "change in focus," although the spokeswoman noted Yu wants to spend more time with his family.

She adds that this doesn't leave Hammerhead's technology rudderless, as vice president of engineering Kim Holmes had been the company's technical lead even before the departures. He joined in 2002, shortly after Medved's arrival (see Hammerhead Systems Inc.).

Nonetheless, the personnel shuffling might be disconcerting to some, as Hammerhead is only now hitting the marketplace. The HSX 6000 is one of several targeting carriers' migration to core networks based on Internet Protocol (IP) and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). The idea is to take in Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Ethernet, and Frame Relay traffic at the edge, merging the different traffic types for transport across a single network core.

Hammerhead's big task is to get an OEM partner lined up. Other competitive startups have established reseller agreements with bigger names, a way to help latch onto big carrier accounts. For example, Laurel Networks Inc. has an agreement with Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN); and WaveSmith Networks got flat-out acquired by Ciena. TiMetra Networks and Vivace Networks got snatched up by Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), respectively.

At the same time, the big vendors are trying to muscle into the space. Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) aims the M320 here, and Nortel recently introduced its MPE 9000 family for the multiservice edge. Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), like Hammerhead, is aiming for a Layer 2 approach with its upcoming CBX 3500. And Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) continues to say its 7600, 10000, and 12000 router lines can compete in this space as well. (See Juniper Hatches the M320, Nortel's Neptune Surfaces, and Lucent's WaveSmith Killer.)

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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Truelight1 12/5/2012 | 1:38:54 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside I was referring to the "Founding team " no doubt credible on paper but that's not enogun and the VC's will eventually realize the error in there selection process.
Truelight1 12/5/2012 | 1:38:48 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside Sak you must work there.

Hammerhead was not founded on a business case that diff. itself from others in this space. At least not enough to get away from the pack.

The VC were dumb to make this investment just like they are dumb to invest in Cinta (VP of Eng), Corilios (VP of Sales), Zaffire (Founders), Not a player CEO (Excel killer)

ATMRules 12/5/2012 | 1:38:46 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside Mr Sakarabu......shut up and go back to your cubicle and get to work...you work at a startup, need to put in alot of hrs not spend time on web reading LR.... It's hammer Time....You can't touch this.....

Sakarabu 12/5/2012 | 1:38:44 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside Can't argue there. it will be interesting to see if they can sell.
Sakarabu 12/5/2012 | 1:38:44 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside No. I just know what wavesmith is offering and what LU is offering. There is a place for a good box. But... this company needs to get a big brother and it needs to deliver, like any start-up in the carrier market.
Sakarabu 12/5/2012 | 1:38:44 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside Bitter too, I see. CS?
bobcat 12/5/2012 | 1:38:42 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside I'm not partial to Hammer Head or any other but I don't see immeidate success here. Small increments of success? Sure.
But., I'm reminded of Tenor, Corona, Crescent and others that played at the edge and bit the dust. Oh yea, Ellacoya what do they build now?

First, Hammer Head is late to market.
Maybe thats' a good thing, maybe not.

Second, "What is a MultiService Switch?
In SIMPLE terms, the main difference between multiservice switches and edge routers is that edge routers are based on packet-switching architectures (using an IP control plane). Conversely, multiservice switches, while they also support Internet Protocol (IP) , are usually based on Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) architectures and feature cell-based control planes (see

Third, if the core is being given a new face-lift in the form of IP/MPLS and, more capacity, HFR, T640. Then as Cisco implied, the legacy stuff which is already paid for moves from the core to the edge, such as the GSR-12000 series.

Fourth, http://www.lightreading.com/do...
This article is two years old and do you really see any signs of growth? Not really..
Show me tha money!

Finally, IMHO there are two quarters left in the calendar year and I don't see forseeable changes in the core by RBOCS or for that matter changes in the edge except a shift of legacy products from the core to the edge. This could drag out for a couple more years including beta testing and market posturing. Hammer Head will be hard pressed to relieve the legacy gear pushed to the edge in lew of simply bigger faster.

The new card for the 7670, and the accompanying software updates that were also announced today, aren't a watershed event. But they do give proof that Alcatel is winning carriers over by making its offering equally attractive to ATM-centric carriers and newer networks.

"It is incremental, but I can't understate its importance," say Guillet.

As the man says
"For future development, the HSX's network processors give it an interesting twist. Despite being a Layer 2 box, the HSX is aware of what's going on at Layer 3, and can perform packet inspection at Layer 7. This opens up some possible future applications involving deep packet analysis. Modarres, giving no details, calls such applications "highly speculative" but notes they're part of the HSX's next set of trials".

And where is this multiservice edge switch called the CBX 3500 Wavesmith Killer box from LU.? http://www.lightreading.com/do...

They need services like SELF DEFENDING network software (?!) and so on in the VPN.If they don't get a partner or get bought they're done.
We won't even talk about Ciena, and their multiservice offering... or is that ATM edge switch? I dunno.

Bitman 12/5/2012 | 1:38:41 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside I wonder just how many others have quietly left the company?
ATMRules 12/5/2012 | 1:36:40 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside I heard Cornee did leave..............

Bitman 12/5/2012 | 1:36:36 AM
re: Hammerhead Founder Steps Aside She is still on the web site. Perhaps she is associated with the company like John Yu is.

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