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Optical/IP

What's Kooking at Kirana?

As the corpse of Tachion Networks finally goes cold, things are just getting warmed up over at Kirana Networks, a startup headed by former Tachion founder and CTO Satish M. Sharma.

Considering the links to Tachion, with its vocal community of followers, Kirana has performed a minor miracle in keeping itself out of the limelight for the past couple years. We think it's high time the company spilled the beans.

But while things are moving up a gear at Kirana -- the company is reportedly hiring new staff -- an official product launch isn't on the cards for another six months or so, according to Sharma. "Our first product is nearly ready," he says. "We expect to launch it at Supercomm."

So, what is Kirana up to? "We have not yet launched the company, so I feel uncomfortable talking about the product," says Sharma. The blurb on Kirana's Website simply refers to an "advanced optical solution." Slightly more helpful is the information from investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Columbia Capital, which say the company is "developing switching solutions for all-optical networks."

Sharma insists that Kirana is not another Tachion, despite the fact that it was founded by two Tachion veterans. His co-founder is Sunil Malhotra, Tachion's former VP of software development, who holds the same position with Kirana.

The rest of Kirana's executive team hails from a range of other optical companies, however. It includes chief scientist and VP of network architecture Adel Saleh, who was previously VP and chief network architect at Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV); and CTO N.V. Srinivasan, a Bell Labs old timer, who directed the MONET project to build the first ever all-optical network.

These appointments add to the evidence that Kirana is developing something in the all-optical line -- although it hasn't said exactly what. (Tachion's product was quite different -- an Internet offload platform -- see Another Tack for Tachion).

Reading between the lines of a presentation given by Adel Saleh at last year's OFC conference, it appears that Kirana is developing a wavelength-selective, all-optical transport switch that works in concert with reconfigurable all-optical add/drop multiplexers (ROADMs). (A wavelength-selective switch is one that can interconnect individual wavelengths, as opposed to switching bunches of wavelengths together.)

Saleh's presentation suggests that a bunch of smaller all-optical switches can operate as a larger, geographically distributed optical switch, providing a cost-effective alternative to building monster all-optical switches.

The idea of integrating all-optical switching and transport isn't new by any means. Indeed, most vendors, including Corvis and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE), now believe this is the simplest solution for all-optical networks, because the switches only need to deal with add/drop traffic (see Siemens Shifts Switch Strategy).

"This is a fair description [of our strategy]," says Sharma, "The presentation basically shows how all-optical transport can reduce costs in the network." He acknowledges that all-optical switching is part of Kirana's product plans, but emphasizes that it is not the only or even the main part.

Kirana is probably building its own ROADMs as well, judging by the fact that it was seen hobnobbing with representatives from tunable laser vendor Iolon Inc. at a show last fall. Using tunable lasers enables a much simpler architecture for ROADMs, since they can be used to add any channel to the network regardless of its wavelength (see Tunable Lasers Revisited).

Of course, there is still a question over whether Kirana can stay the course. Its first and only round of funding was $20 million in January 2001. "We're still living off [the first round]," says Sharma, but he adds that, since the company only has 40 people, its burn rate is very low. The company is currently trying to raise a second round of $30 million. And the fact that it is hiring suggests a great deal of confidence.

— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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Richard Hatch 12/5/2012 | 12:46:56 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? I know nothing of Kirana or these guys' management styles/effectiveness, but let's not completely tar and feather them for life.

People *can* learn from their mistakes and failures to become better managers and succeed in future ventures. It gives many people humility, sensitivity, new & deeper understandings etc. In fact, if you don't fail, many times you're not challenging yourself enough which can be equally bad news.

Of course some people also do not learn and continue to make mistakes but let's give them the benefit of the doubt here without all the snide comments.
corvisalum 12/5/2012 | 12:46:50 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? Richard Hatch

You definitely make a point - you REALLY don't know Satish!

corvisalum
Richard Hatch 12/5/2012 | 12:46:47 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? True, true. Somebody put a compress over this bleeding heart! But I think it's true in many cases anyway. There are a lot of people on the street now who think they have "failed" in their past jobs if only because their employers have filed Ch 11/7.

++++++++++++++++++
Richard Hatch

You definitely make a point - you REALLY don't know Satish!

corvisalum

gea 12/5/2012 | 12:46:47 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? As Kirana is apparently looking for people, they can just go downstairs to Jedai, which should be having its third wave of layoffs right about....NOW.
curad 12/5/2012 | 12:46:46 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? Pauline, I am surprised at you, giving mention to iolon like that! What has come over you? Surely you mean Santur or Agility, don't you?
Bill Johnson 12/5/2012 | 12:46:43 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? curad wrote:
"Pauline, I am surprised at you, giving mention to iolon like that! What has come over you? Surely you mean Santur or Agility, don't you?"

She is simply reporting the facts as she sees them. A lot of people and companies have been seen talking to Iolon at conferences/meetings, etc. but is anyone buying? If they compare Iolon's lasers to Agility's the answer would be no.
pastel 12/5/2012 | 12:46:42 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? As Yogi Berra so eloquently stated "this is deja vu all over again". Kirana is Tachion II.

When you start with lightweights and you hire lightweights, you maintain your lightweight status.

Kirana is doomed to failure from the start with a lack of leadership, lack of direction and cavalier attitudes about what it takes to bring a product to market.

Fatish is the same person that stated it would take two weeks to add SS7 capabilities to the Fusion 5K.

Fatish and Funil ( the F&F boys ) have poor track records, poor management skills and are not even that bright. Both were mediocre ( former ) AT&T employees. Both are bullies that rule their employees through threats, intimidation and harassment.

There had better be a boat load of new employees on the shores of Monmouth Beach, otherwise they won't be doing too much hiring in the near future. Well, they are very fortunate of a bad economy so there are some employees available.

pastel 12/5/2012 | 12:46:41 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? "Well, it didn't take long for the 'Tachion Thread' mouths to reassert their unbridaled ignorance."

Feel free to refute any specific remark ....
4WhatItsWorth 12/5/2012 | 12:46:41 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? >>Feel free to refute any specific remark ....<<

Feel free to provide justification for yours ...
4WhatItsWorth 12/5/2012 | 12:46:41 AM
re: What's Kooking at Kirana? Well, it didn't take long for the "Tachion Thread" mouths to reassert their unbridaled ignorance.
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