Anagran announced an $8 million first round of funding today, from investors including Argon Capital , ArrowPath Venture Capital, and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (see Anagran Raises $8M).
In terms of technology, Anagran resembles a shrunken version of Caspian Networks Inc., Roberts's previous creation. Anagran's pizza box is intended to hook to multiple 10-Gbit/s Ethernet uplinks in campus and enterprise environments. The box will track traffic in terms of flows, not individual packets, aiming to provide more substantial QOS and load balancing.
That helps network operators prioritize time-sensitive traffic, such as video streams of Boston Red Sox playoff games, over less important flows, such as New York Yankees Web pages. The concept can also help identify bandwidth-hungry peer-to-peer flows to either limit the bandwidth they get or charge users appropriately (see Controlling P2P Traffic).
Roberts is being nebulous about the box's cost ("low," he says) but notes that the devices should begin shipping late next year.
Roberts had pursued the idea of Flow-Based Networking with Caspian, but he left that company early this year. Anagran was created in February and is being kept separate from Caspian (see Larry Has Left the Building and Supercomm Snippets: The Sequel). The companies have no overlapping investors other than Roberts himself. "I'm still on the board of Caspian, and we're trying to figure out if that should continue," he says.
Likewise, Anagran expects to get its CPE done without stepping on Caspian's patent portfolio, Roberts says.
So, why start a new company instead of getting Caspian to do a smaller box? Caspian started life as a core-router company, but so did Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7), which has produced progressively smaller versions of its router (see Avici Intros Tiny TSR and Avici's Incredible Shrinking Router).
Roberts says the CPE market is too different from Caspian's realm. Anagran and Caspian "have the same goal in terms of technology concepts, but the products are in different spaces. [Anagran is] a different strategy altogether," he says. For example, Roberts is serious about making the box low-cost, as he sees the cost of routing equipment as a major detriment to deploying 10-Gbit/s Ethernet.
Anagran has about 20 employees and intends to add some more, according to Roberts.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
For further education, visit the archives of related Light Reading Webinars:
- Controlling P2P: Who's Stealing Your Bandwidth?
- Flow-Based Networking: A Better Business Model for IP?
- QOS Characteristics of New Carrier Services: What's Required