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Employment

Li Finally Quits Procket

Tony Li appears to have finally quit Procket Networks Inc., the much-watched router company he founded. He broke the news in typical fashion, by posting a message on Light Reading late last night (see Re: The Daily Tony Report).

Coincidentally (?), the message is posted on a board relating to an article published in April 2002, covering rumors of Li's possible departure. In the article, an email from Li is quoted, in which he writes: "That rumor is patently false. I'm still exceedingly busy and have numerous responsibilities." (See Bigwigs out of Procket? )

Li made it clear in January that he was leaving Procket (see Li Quits Procket). Last night, he added a message to this article as well, addressing the pressing question: Is Tony Li GOD?. (His opinion? "No.")

Procket has not announced Li's departure, and Li is still listed as Procket's founder and chief scientist on its Website. Procket was unavailable for comment at press time, and Li hadn't responded to an email to his Procket address.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

dpb 12/5/2012 | 2:12:55 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket
I am not sure who has picked up any of the Intellectual Property, it would be interesting to find out.
__________________________________________________

List an email address and maybe I can let you know what I've heard.

----
[email protected]
sigint 12/5/2012 | 2:13:00 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket dpb:
I am not sure who has picked up any of the Intellectual Property, it would be interesting to find out.
__________________________________________________

List an email address and maybe I can let you know what I've heard.
stawdema 12/5/2012 | 2:13:06 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Can LR please get rid of this mishaola
guy who seems to be spewing these Rolostar
messages non stop.
dpb 12/5/2012 | 2:13:09 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket >Is it true that Juniper bought the Allegro properties ?

I know they picked up the Allegro team in Bangalore and have since added to the staff. (They aquired a great team of people) I am not sure who has picked up any of the Intellectual Property, it would be interesting to find out.

-David Bannister
Indy_lite 12/5/2012 | 2:13:12 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Is it true that Juniper bought the Allegro properties ?

Juniper bought Nexsi properties ?
vapa 12/5/2012 | 2:13:13 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Sigint,

Everyone I know and kept in touch with has found a job one way or another.... Most (not all) Allegro empoloyees were excellent engineers, and I had no doubt they would find jobs soon.

P.S. I have an idea who OrderedSemaphore might be. :)
OrderedSemaphore 12/5/2012 | 2:13:14 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket As for being irrelevant I totally disagree. If the product existed today I would have an application for it in my network.

-David Bannister

-----------

Damn, Dave... if only there were some VCs out there... As Jake and Elwood would say, "We're getting the band back together!".

Ah, if only it were that easy (cue sentimental music and flashbacks of happy engineers running through fields)...

Back to life, back to reality...
papabear 12/5/2012 | 2:13:22 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Fujitsu layed off 124 people yesterday.

Their equipment sales are up but, their service sales are down.

Most of the 124 were in Customer support and E, F & I services.
dpb 12/5/2012 | 2:13:23 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket >Just an FYI dave and everyone, Allegro and their fabulous box >are no more and that is ALL that matters.

Agreed.

>Glad everyone there had such a great time wasting investor >money and building an irrelevant product.

Actually the management was very frugal with the investor's money. As for being irrelevant I totally disagree. If the product existed today I would have an application for it in my network.

-David Bannister
dpb 12/5/2012 | 2:13:24 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket >Did all these "discreet" routers share the same power supply, >fans, fabrics, etc.,?? Where was ttl decremented? Did it need a >physical cable between routers?

Redundant power, redundant fans, redundant control and data fabric. TTL was decremented in the network processor subsystem. No physical cable between routers. The real trick to building this box was to insure that no single user of the box could effect another and for all practical purposes that goal was met. We had a lot of smart people working on solving these problems and it was great to work with them. As for the box itself, I understand all of the hardware and software IP is for sale at a rather cheap price which should answer anyone's questions. Last I heard PJ Singh was brokering the deals for the group that retained the IP rights to the product.

>And can you enlighten us on what is "interesting" about >prockets product?

I found the network processor and overall system architecture to be interesting. Sorry but I can really give any detail here without violating the trust that has been established. I will say that it was refreshing to talk to people like Bill Lynch, he was completely open with what is going on inside the box. It is a big change to be able to count clock cycles with a vendor vs. the 'trust me it's on powerpoint, it must be true' approach.

-David Bannister
sigint 12/5/2012 | 2:13:26 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket OrderedSemaphore:
It being a waste was ultimately the investors' choice. But thanks, it was our pleasure.
__________________________________________________

The code lives on, I'm told, in a few boxes. The IP has been sold to a few companies. I guess that should make you feel better, right?
photonicGuru 12/5/2012 | 2:13:27 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Guys hold on with your posts.... someone is praising Allegro / Procket others are questioning the Allegro / Procket....All that sharad post said that LR focus on oven bake-off, technical reports and research work instead of PR for an individual for matters internal to any private company....and i support sharad's view-point.

It is definitely pleasing to see new core / edge router companies are surviving thru' these tough time and procket is one of them..three cheers for Procketeers' including all the founding memeber...

Bottomline....Darwin Prevails Everywhere

Cheers,
sigint 12/5/2012 | 2:13:27 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket vapa:
I have to agree with OrderedSemaphore since I have the same exact experience working at Allegro. What happened to Allegro and its employees is just very unfortunate. I will jump to any opportunity to work with my ex-colleagues again, and I am sure most of them feel the same way.
__________________________________________________

would you happen to know any who might consider moving (back or otherwise) to India?

Sigint
OrderedSemaphore 12/5/2012 | 2:13:29 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket light-headed:

"Just an FYI dave and everyone, Allegro and their fabulous box are no more and that is ALL that matters."

Of course, you're right. We've all moved on, we just like remembering. Maybe one day you'll have an experience you enjoy remembering too.

"Glad everyone there had such a great time wasting investor money and building an irrelevant product."

It being a waste was ultimately the investors' choice. But thanks, it was our pleasure.

"Procket can take some small comfort in the fact that they have produced a product that works and has some customers... too bad the business plan required $300M and counting to do it."

Too bad? Maybe. Maybe not. Time will tell.
light-headed 12/5/2012 | 2:13:30 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Just an FYI, the Allegro box was not a virtual router. It was 30 provisionable routers each with its own discreet CPU and memory. Any logical or physical interface could be arbitrarily assigned to any router. This offered virtual router like features but with 100% isolation between customers. The box had some pretty awesome performance wrt ACLs, accounting, policing, shaping etc stuff too.

The reason Allegro closed their doors, another poster was right on target, economy and VC issues.
----------------------------------------------

Just an FYI dave and everyone, Allegro and their fabulous box are no more and that is ALL that matters. Glad everyone there had such a great time wasting investor money and building an irrelevant product. Procket can take some small comfort in the fact that they have produced a product that works and has some customers... too bad the business plan required $300M and counting to do it.
andropat 12/5/2012 | 2:13:31 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Mr. Bannister,

Did all these "discreet" routers share the same power supply, fans, fabrics, etc.,?? Where was ttl decremented? Did it need a physical cable between routers?

And can you enlighten us on what is "interesting" about prockets product?

thank you.

pat
dpb 12/5/2012 | 2:13:34 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket -I don't see anything revolutionary with Allegro. Virtual router -concept is nothing new (Cisco already has it), but any customer -will ever use this VR thing for their VPN ? No way. Allegro died -for a good reason.

Just an FYI, the Allegro box was not a virtual router. It was 30 provisionable routers each with its own discreet CPU and memory. Any logical or physical interface could be arbitrarily assigned to any router. This offered virtual router like features but with 100% isolation between customers. The box had some pretty awesome performance wrt ACLs, accounting, policing, shaping etc stuff too.

The reason Allegro closed their doors, another poster was right on target, economy and VC issues.

As for Procket, the departure of a single person from the company is not going to spell its doom. They have a top notch staff and a product that is very interesting. Obviously they are making someone nervous...

-David Bannister
vapa 12/5/2012 | 2:13:37 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket I have to agree with OrderedSemaphore since I have the same exact experience working at Allegro. What happened to Allegro and its employees is just very unfortunate. I will jump to any opportunity to work with my ex-colleagues again, and I am sure most of them feel the same way.
coreghost 12/5/2012 | 2:13:41 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket
You left one thing about 40Gbs. The customer
has to want and care about a 40Gbs slot. And
they have to care right about the time the
system is finished. Procket bet a whole lot
on that and has little to show for it now.

Don't get me wrong, aspects of the hardware
were a great achivement if Procket was in
business to provide a set of engineers with
money to play around with. But Procket was
supposed to be a business rather than a hero
science project.

The problem with hardware projects that turn
into hero science is that most of the time they
don't work out. What took hero science when
the project starts invariably doesn't soon after
it ends. The only way that ever pays off is
if you have people lined up ready to buy the
minute the first system is finished. The writing
was on the wall for 40Gbs shortly after procket
started. Betting everything on it as an
all or nothing proposition is real brave, but
its also totally reckless.


stfan 12/5/2012 | 2:13:44 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket
coreghost said:

"For the last 5 years, blah blah blah blah"

fiberous said:

"Procket was formed by a bunch of crud from Sun blah blah blah blah blah"

You guys are so bitter. Jeez.


Regardless of whether or not Procket is going to make it, you can't deny their technology. It's an achievement. Mostly a hardware achievement.

Sharad's point (and by the way, he left Procket around two years ago) is valid. It's not all about Tony Li. The engineering is very much not about Tony Li. Does anyone think Tony built the ASICs, the cards, or wrote Procket's routing protocols? Come on...


Customers don't really think about the hardware. If the hardware is supposed to do 40Gbps and it does 40Gbps, and it costs the right amount then they're happy. It's the software they fear. They fear crashes. They fear routing bugs. It's obvious that marketting and sales will sing Tony's praises. He's a been there, done that hard-core routing superstar, and therefore Procket's routing software is excellent. Whether it really is excellent or not will be discovered. Tony didn't write any of it, but that's a detail no one needs to know.


Now he's gone, and that's a blow to marketting, but I'm sure the enginnering will continue to the same standard it always has.


Procket's long-term viability is unknown. A cynic would say they're doomed - because that's the most likely outcome for any networking startup. But people with those attitudes have no business either working for, or talking about, startups.

Unless you have a crystal ball, your opinions are just noise. Give these guys their roll of the dice, and we'll all see how they do.


/stfan
OrderedSemaphore 12/5/2012 | 2:13:48 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket
"I don't see anything revolutionary with Allegro. Virtual router concept is nothing new (Cisco already has it)"

Bzzzt. Allegro was not building virtual routers. Feel free to try again.

"Allegro died for a good reason."

Allegro died for a number of reasons, none of them good - pretty much the same arbitrary reasons that killed other startups in 2002/2003. A confluence of bad circumstances: a poor economy, a growth-oriented product into beta at a time when no-one had money to spend, some internal shake-ups at the in-round VCs, and an investment-hostile outside VC community.

It was and still is a new class of product. No one has done what Allegro did. Customers loved it, but couldn't buy it, and couldn't promise to buy it as the industry had collapsed and the wallets were closed.

The team has scattered, but we keep in touch. We know what we built, and we're proud of it. Not in a Kool-Aid way, either. It was very cool (with a 'c').

At every startup, the top man stands up and says, "This is the best team I've ever worked with." As an seasoned start-up engineer, Allegro was the best team I've ever worked with.

It's enlightening to see so many great people working together so well. There were egos here and there and disagreements as you would expect from any group of opinionated individuals, but in the end the team spirit overcame. We drank beer, played ping-pong, foosball and basketball, stayed late and worked hard.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find ex-Allegro employees who don't have fond memories of the company - even with the layoffs, the loss of personal investment in early exercised stocks, and the eventual shutdown. And that's got to tell you something (good!) about the company, the product and the team. At least I think so.
fiberous 12/5/2012 | 2:13:52 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Procket was formed by a bunch of crud from Sun
Microelectronics (the SPARC gurus) who thought
they knew everything there is to know about
chip design. This were the parekh-clan left
after Raj Parekh exited Sun

A few other jokers were like "bob Ha" from Sun
were given amzaing management titles at
procket (or a scoket at procket)
Folks, in the Sun Networking Products
Group know how good "Bob Howard Anderson - aka
Bob Ha" was. He was the guy who though Sun
should build Ethernet switches - what an idiot!

The smucks got hold of an infantile genius like
TLI and got the sand hill monkeys all excited
and hrony. Then they ahd a cluster x.

Now, these monkeys sit grooming others waiting
for action.

They will get a new management (plenty of those
available these days - both local and offshore)
and perhaps change the outlook to a SW only
company. What else do they have left?
They started with chip, then figured no one
can afford it or trust it to have an empty socket
in their router. So, they said they are systems.
Now what?

Next time the VC should check if the glow around
a person is halo or lethal radio active radiation
Indy_lite 12/5/2012 | 2:13:53 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket
The real revolutionary company in the routing space died last year-I am talking about Allegro...


I don't see anything revolutionary with Allegro. Virtual router concept is nothing new (Cisco already has it), but any customer will ever use this VR thing for their VPN ? No way. Allegro died for a good reason.
OpticOm 12/5/2012 | 2:13:55 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Procket may have an evolutionary product, that cannot compete against Cisco or Juniper, because of their size/support/channels and such, completely different than pure technical differentiators.
The real revolutionary company in the routing space died last year-I am talking about Allegro...
I think it will suicidal for any start-up to try a core routing product any time soon, this is why Procket will have a hellish time ahead of them.

beltway_light 12/5/2012 | 2:13:56 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket coreghost,

Why attack procket at this time when tli
is leaving? are you afraid of some competition
in this router space? could you also enlight
us what kind of core router features they
are still missing?

I don't work for procket, but know a little
about their products. I do think they still
have chance in today's core router market.
At least they keep Cisco and Juniper honest.
dwdm2 12/5/2012 | 2:13:59 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket "... Ms Russo, Mr Li posts regularly on our message boards, using his actual for-real name."

Aha! That explains why LU is going the way it is going, at least partly.
coreghost 12/5/2012 | 2:14:02 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Dear Procket Employees,

For the last 5 years, your company has focused
its entire customer strategy on selling Tony
Li to potential customers rather than your
product. Don't bother to try and rewrite
history to make this not true because those
of us who have been through your presentations
know better.

Sharad, you can pretend that Tony left to
pursue other opportunities, but nobody is
stupid enough to listen to nonsense like that
outside of Procket.

Now that Tony is gone, you want to focus on your
"great" product and your "amazing" team. Ok.

You have built a product that its not clear
anyone even wants. It has no particular advantage
in the marketplace and nothing especially
compelling about it. It doesn't have the features
for edge and it doesn't really have the features
for core either. There isn't much of anything
to stand out about it at all.

You have wasted so much money its almost
beyond comprehension. In every area, you picked
the most expensive choice in engineering. Going
out and doing all-custom ASICs was crazy. And
for all the big names you have writing software,
they don't seem to be very productive in turning
out the features Procket needed. But wait! They
were off pursuing that suicidal NOT-INVENTED-HERE
strategy that everyone is so proud of.

As far as your team, you might want to consider
that your team has been at each other's throats
for a good deal of procket's history. The
company started with two visions of what it was
building, walked blindly into a hardware
disaster, and then "fixed" the problem by
getting rid of most of the hardware people.
Then it was the turn of the business people.
You got rid of all of them. Then it was finally
Tony's turn to get the axe.

So what of the team survives? A bunch of
whiny "big name" routing guys who are too
important to work a full time schedule and
who don't understand how a budget works.
Its all free money to them. And if what they
build can't be sold. Well, its not their
problem. They produced a great product and
its everyone elses fault and the investors should
dump in another hundred million.

Light Reading bent over backwards for Procket.
But if you build your company up around Tony,
you can't start whining that people are unfair
when he leaves. Light Reading has gone out of
its way to blindly accept every give-away deal
and every storage agreeement (see japan) as if
they were real customer wins.

If you want some outside comments on Procket,
I'll give you four word: Arrogance and
closed minds.

And as far as things you guys are best at,
I suggest you rejoin the blame game Sharad.
Because in six months Procket is going to need
someone new to throw out the window and blame
for whatever is wrong.




sigint 12/5/2012 | 2:14:06 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket lightbulb:
is that something worth bragging about?
__________________________________________________

In the original email to employess (when this news broke) he describes anguish over (unelaborated) reasons. Where did you see the bragging?

If you are talking about the post in lightreading about his departure - there's history to it. A couple of years back when rumours of his departure where rife, he'd post daily reports about his continued presence.

I thought the last post was poignant, appearing on a thread that had died two years back.
lightbulb0 12/5/2012 | 2:14:07 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket is that something worth bragging about?
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 2:14:07 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket [VC capital] poured in as a result of Toni's high profile. The very PR hype which you now chose to discount.
______________________________

Agreed. People hate the fact that originality often begins with 1 or 2 people. They bemoan that fact, and counter with something lame and irrelevant that it takes hoards of engineers to accomplish anything.

But they can't understand the fundamentals of what it takes to get something rolling. So they'll take it and roll it for a while, and then wonder why the rolling slows down, usually into slow death.

Good luck Tony. I understood that it took both great originality and the team. Not too many understand that both are required for true success.
sigint 12/5/2012 | 2:14:07 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Sharad:
Tony, Farewell -- LR please stop this PR lunacy!
_snip_raising more venture capital than God_snip_
__________________________________________________

I can empathise with the anguish. However, do hazard a guess - if you can - as to how much of the venture capital (which by your own asertion surpasses divine proportions) poured in as a result of Toni's high profile. The very PR hype which you now chose to discount.
Sharad_Mehrotra 12/5/2012 | 2:14:08 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Dear LR Editors:

For the last 5 years you have published numerous stories about the company, Bill, Tony and I launched with great expectations and aspirations. For that we thank you. More often than not, though, rather than focusing on our finest achievements -- putting together an amazing team, raising more venture capital than God, and designing and delivering the most technically sophisticated and densest routers on the planet -- you have chosen to spend your words on equating the entire company with just one individual. I realize that this behavior generates tons of traffic on your bulletin boards, therefore more eyeballs to your website, and consequently, higher ad revenue. However, it does _tremendous_ injustice to the efforts of the ~250 other folks who labored for four years to bring the Procket equipment to the market.

Now that Tony has chosen to pursue other career options, could you please shift your focus to articles you do so well, such as your reports and tutorials, equipment bake offs, and the like?

Thanks,
/sharad
rtgdude 12/5/2012 | 2:14:08 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Right on, Sharad!

I only hope that they will take it as professionals, won't remove this message from the board and won't change your account to read-only as they did with mine today (my original message below).

> Subject: "To Peter Heywood and LR"
>
> Guys, please stop trying to be tli's diary.
> Have some self-respect and get some real stuff done.
> Enough already.
> rtg_dude
particle_man 12/5/2012 | 2:14:08 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket I have to say I have tried using RoloStar and found it largely worthless.

Disclaimer: I hate spam
corvisalum 12/5/2012 | 2:14:12 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket LR Copychief:

Instead of engaging in silly banter about Tony Li and Pat Russo, why don't you figure a way to cut the mishaola spam about rolostar?

Pissed.

ca
pig3head 12/5/2012 | 2:14:14 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket I thinks that cisco need him for its product such as expected HFR.

boosted 12/5/2012 | 2:14:15 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket hey! how's the surf today? Are orcutt and burger still doing their thing?
answeris42 12/5/2012 | 2:14:15 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Check out Procket's web site... the leadership board no longer includes the smiling (I've got millions in the bank) face of one Toni Li.

Perhaps now Procket can actually focus on selling some product instead of all the "stuff" created by a talented but very misguided founder.
readingsbelieving 12/5/2012 | 2:14:18 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket "Trust me?"

I'm saying: How do you know he's definitely the one who wrote the message in question? The answer is: You don't, and you ran the story anyway.
mrcasual 12/5/2012 | 2:14:18 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket And if you read the article LR stated that they were looking for confirmation but hadn't received it.

Assuming someone hasn't hacked Tony's ID then it's still valid to report it since there has been lot's of speculation on the Tony front for a while. Whether his fate and Procket's are inexorably linked is a topic for debate but it's still news worthy if he has in fact left.
lite-brite 12/5/2012 | 2:14:19 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket the message wasn't from Tiny Lo was it?
Indy_lite 12/5/2012 | 2:14:19 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket
(1) goes back to Cisco or Juniper ?
(2) joins AVICI?
(3) employed by huawei?
(4) founds a new "Procket"?
(4) stays home? I can not image that.


At the times when he moved to JNPR or PRKT, it was others luring him in. SO likely he is not determined to go anywhere yet, until somebody offers him good opportunity. But founding new router startup should not be in the cards. Maybe he will be back to Cisco, or just devote his time to IETF.
Larry, Monkey 12/5/2012 | 2:14:20 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket In spite of your skepticism, Ms Russo, Mr Li posts regularly on our message boards, using his actual for-real name. It's him. Trust me.
Your pal,
CopyChief
Mezo 12/5/2012 | 2:14:23 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Come on 'readingsbelieving'...if it's in LightReading it must be true :]
readingsbelieving 12/5/2012 | 2:14:25 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket If Li hasn't responded to Light Reading, how do you know he actually posted that message? If I post a message saying I'm Pat Russo, do you print it as news?

Good grief.
dgolding 12/5/2012 | 2:14:26 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket With no offense to Tony, how is this news? Like many of us, Tony is somewhat peripatetic in his employment. This says nothing about Procket or its long term viability.

- Dan
zipple 12/5/2012 | 2:14:30 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Hey Tony, Thanks for putting straight info on the boards. It takes guts to do that.

Any hints on what's next??

Z
firstmile 12/5/2012 | 2:14:31 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket ditto, ditto, ditto,
first class prima donna
Maybe he might want to find Bernard Daines and create a company together. They can battle over who pushed who out first? PD Networks?
...first
wilecoyote 12/5/2012 | 2:14:31 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket So this is how I see it:

We got a new CEO so the attention is off me now.

"I quit. Look at me. I said I quit! Isn't anyone listening?"

Guess not. Maybe I'll go back to work for a little while and let things settle down. When they get nice and quiet again....

"I quit! See? I said I quit! I'm back in town and I quit!"

Reminds me of my three year old son. The similarities are striking.

Founders...
Road Trip 12/5/2012 | 2:14:34 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket Who cares?
pig3head 12/5/2012 | 2:14:36 AM
re: Li Finally Quits Procket
miss u very much!

(1) goes back to Cisco or Juniper ?
(2) joins AVICI?
(3) employed by huawei?
(4) founds a new "Procket"?
i think it impossible.

(4) stays home? I can not image that.

who know? please tell me. 3x

--pig3head.
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