ATCA/Standard Servers

Jonathan Reeves Tries ATCA

Jonathan Reeves, who's created three startups that have had their share of Light Reading ink, has resurfaced, this time working for someone else's company.

Reeves has become chief strategy officer at Afore Solutions Inc. , a design house for telecom vendors, and is helping the startup migrate into the world of Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (AdvancedTCA) .

Reeves struck it rich founding startups Sahara Networks and Sirocco Systems, which were sold off for $212 million and $2.9 billion, respectively. His third try, Mangrove Systems, didn't work out that way, selling to Carrier Access Corp. (Nasdaq: CACS) for $7.4 million in cash last month. (See CACS Closes Mangrove Buy and Mangrove Closes Its Doors.)

Instead of going the CEO route again, he's advising Afore, which did some work for Mangrove. While he's got a fancy title, he notes it's not a full-time gig.

Well, does he get paid, at least?

"It's a relationship with multiple facets, let's put it like that," Reeves says.

In his spare time, Reeves does not intend to build another startup. "Right now, there are a number of interesting companies in the marketplace like Afore that are developing their strategies and could do with some help," he says. "For a while, that's where I'm going to focus my energy."

And here we were looking forward to reporting on Startup No. 4. Spoilsport.

As for what Afore actually does -- it's a design house that produces hardware and/or software for telecom equipment vendors. Afore was founded in 2003, is self-funded and profitable, and boasts 50 employees.

Its new thing, though, is in the ATCA realm, where Afore sees a chance to hook up chip vendors, chassis builders, and the equipment vendors. The theory behind ATCA is that the equipment vendors could start buying off-the-shelf chips and chassis, thus lowering the cost of designing new equipment, if all the right standards were in place.

The problem, according to Afore, is that software related to new features has implications for each of the hardware players. Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) for Ethernet would be one example. Getting each supplier to support new features isn't impossible; it just takes a long time.

So, next week Afore plans to introduce InterPort, a catch-all name for some modular software chunks and related development services. It's aimed at carrier Ethernet, and the modules include code for fancy buzzwords like PBT and pseudowires, and for functions like VLAN tagging or 50-millisecond link restoration.

Afore would license InterPort to the equipment vendors, but the startup's main relationships will be with the chip companies, at least at first. The hope is that the chip players will suggest Afore to their systems-vendor customers.

Not that Afore is a stranger to the systems world. The company already lists Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and Spirent Communications plc as customers, among others.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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