Has Procket Found a New CEO?

Routing upstart Procket Networks Inc. may have found the guy to fill the shoes of former CEO Randall Kreup, who resigned this summer (see Procket CEO Resigns and Procket Faces Tough CEO Search). A Light Reading source says Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) VP Roland Acra has been tapped to become Procket's new CEO.

Light Reading hasn't been able to confirm that Procket has hired Acra yet. Calls to Procket weren't returned.

Acra couldn't be reached, but a Cisco spokeswoman told Light Reading today that Acra is leaving the company shortly.

Acra has been at Cisco since 1991. For the moment, he is VP and CTO, focusing on Cisco's Service Provider market. Prior to that, he held the title of VP and GM of Cisco's Public Carrier IP Group, where he's responsible for Cisco's 12000 series core routers.

Acra told Reuters last year that routing startups like Procket were "the sharp object that pricks us into continuing to innovate at Cisco."

While Cisco and Procket are competitors, they have more of a kinship than Cisco and its archrival Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR). While Procket was still a chip company, Cisco took a small stake and continues to own a piece of the company today, according to an April 2003 Reuters report.

Procket's interim CEO Paul Matteucci has been scrambling to help the company secure more funding (see Procket Plows On). If Acra does indeed hop on board, it may signal that new funds are either coming soon or already in the bank.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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optical schmoptical 12/5/2012 | 2:47:02 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO? rumor from sand hill
opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 2:47:01 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO? I don't know why Cisco doesn't buy Procket (except the price tag might be too high).

It would give them a better core router with a better operating system--something they've been trying for years with the HFR project. Maybe they could implement some of the HFR scaling ideas to the Procket router. Then they'd really have a killer product that could last them well into the future.

They'd also get a lot of high-end former Cisco engineers (assuming they could find a way to keep them!).

Just an idea--probably won't happen.
BBBoa 12/5/2012 | 2:47:01 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO? They'll definitely need it! It's amazing how anyone could justify sinking good $$$ after bad $$$. If true, it will most likely be a washout round.

Even if their technology is outstanding and far surpasses Cisco and Juniper, there's simply no greenfield market for a core router. Plus, existing carriers are not spending in the network core - it doesn't matter who the new CEO is or how much money they raise.

In today's market, it's all about top line revenue growth for carriers; squeezing revenue out of their existing network and doing it with 1/4 their previous headcount.

Today, carriers cannot afford to introduce a new core router. New technology means major shifts in operational procedures, new product training and more. With less headcount, carriers will not entertain this thought.

So, where is Procket's market for these routers? Are they shifting gears to build other products? When do they expect to attain cash flow breakeven? What is their exit strategy?

Perhaps one of the investors in this "big" round can chime in?

Tony Li - your thoughts?

realdeal 12/5/2012 | 2:47:00 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO? Maybe with the new $$ they will buy Zhone.
edgecore 12/5/2012 | 2:46:58 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO? ------------
It would give them a better core router with a better operating system--something they've been trying for years with the HFR project.

Cisco has invested about 3 years porting code and re writting code for the new HFR OS...not too sure they would be buying Procket just for a good OS!

By the way, what is Procket using? Linux?

Tony Li 12/5/2012 | 2:46:56 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO?
Procket uses LynxOS as its kernel. On top of that, there is a considerable amount of additional code that we've written from scratch.


jim_smith 12/5/2012 | 2:46:54 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO? I got lots of questions... Seems like a good forum to ask...

What is HFR? Is Cisco writing the whole IOS from scratch - RTOS and routing code? Or is it enhancing an off-the-shelf RTOS with fresh routing code? Doesn't NET still own Cisco's IOS? What happens to that relationship when HFR comes out?

One of the biggest problems with routing code is Cisco-compatibility, but Cisco shouldn't have any problems with that :-)

So why is it taking so long? Sounds like Microsoft vaporware to me.
coreghost 12/5/2012 | 2:46:54 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO? I dont know why anyone would invest more money
in them, let alone buy them. When they get
in front a customer, they have a problem in that
they can't really show any compelling value
proposition for their better operating
system. The other serious problem is that
their products are neither edge nor core. They
are lacking in both areas and end up in a sort
of muddy middle being leadership in neither.

The only way cisco would buy procket is if
they won a signficant customer or were well
thought of by one of cisco's existing customers.

As far as the HFR project, it should have been
called HFE (Huge F****** egos). Lots of people
have spent several years and lots of money
producing something that isn't very interesting.

its possible that cisco might scrap the HFR
project and hire the procket engineers to build
the new next-generation core router.
jim_smith 12/5/2012 | 2:46:53 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO? FYI... I know what HFR stands for - Huge Fast Router - and I can also guess what it is supposed to do.

I just realized that I should have asked "what exactly is HFR IOS?" instead of "what is HFR?".
coreghost 12/5/2012 | 2:46:52 AM
re: Has Procket Found a New CEO?
The HFR is a new hardware platform and a new
operating system. The operating system may
be derived in part from the work of AYR networks
which was an outragously corrupt spin-in
at cisco.

AYR networks was supposedly porting a linux-based
routing system to existing cisco platforms.

There was another company acquired by cisco
called growth networks that probably contributed
some of the HFR hardware design. There was
also a small software company with a bunch of
big egos that they bought around the same time
thats involved as well.

The feedback that some of us have repeatedly
given to cisco is that if a new IOS involves
getting less features and beta-quality software
from cisco, its not very interesting. Especially
if the new cisco software is designed to reach
parity with what Juniper has had for several

The commitment to support two very different
operating systems by cisco is also suspect.
Cisco has problems just supporting IOS and
getting features into it. If I go to this
new IOS, how can they convince me that they
are going to make getting new features and
support a priority? It would take a commitment
like microsoft made when NT came out. And I
don't see that sort of commitment on ciscos
part yet.

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