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ozip 12/5/2012 | 3:15:06 PM
re: Will New England Ever Have a Cisco? Jeff,

Good post. Specifically regarding the routers, there were a couple of mistakes that Wellfleet product management made that provided key opportunity to Cisco circa mid 90's (And I dont really think site manager contributed).

1. Large Enterprise IBM Integration. The IBM/IP integration business was just getting off the ground. Channel attachment was the logical way to reduce cost and integrate IP but Wellfleet just wouldnt do it. This decision significantly contributed to the loss of larger enterprise customers which had been the strong hold.

2. Emerging ISP Market. ISP's we just getting started and those who ended up (through merger and aquistion) as the big guys wanted Packet over SONET. Wellfleet just kept pushing an ATM SONET strategy while Cisco gave the customers what they wanted. Add a poor BGP implemention. Not that the engineers were bad developers, the OS used in 7 series was a bit unique and did not have pre-emption, therefore complex, long running state machines (like BGP) did not work well. This stopped Wellfleet establishing a position in the ISP router market.

As for business management, well lets say Paul checked out and Andy wouldnt listen to bad news.

mu-law 12/5/2012 | 3:15:06 PM
re: Will New England Ever Have a Cisco? I'm going to put a different view of why Wellfleet collapsed in a separate post.

Howdy Geoff

Yours is clearly a well informed insiders view of the happenings in that era. Mine is as an outside observer, customer, competitior, et al.

I guess I don't see sales strategy as the sole and inevitable culprit in Wellfleet's case.

Wellfleet, and even Bay were in the right place at the right time, and very easily could have succeeded in spite of themselves.

There was volume to be had in hubs, sure, but soon those ports were being added largely because of post commercialization internet... or applications (somehow) driven by same. In this period, networks of scale and Internet both made routers inevitable; the high margin, strategic part of the sale. A possibly superior router had few obstacles, and sparse competition.

By the time TI was ready to do everything (under human control) that 'mangler did the war was over.

However, the chance that passed Bay by would return again, as success and growth in the network driven by (other people's routers) threatened to obsolete processor-based routers.

Of course they screwed up the do-over as well; even though they seemed to learn from TI this time around, the success criteria were different, as Bay no longer had a position of advantage... and thus Rapid City and Fiddlesticks were relegated to obscurity just like BCN...

lerxst 12/5/2012 | 3:15:05 PM
re: Will New England Ever Have a Cisco? Correction to a bit of misinformation in this thread:

The Wellfleet / Synoptics "merger of equals" was announced in July and consummated in October of 1994, *not* 1993.

chechaco 12/5/2012 | 3:15:04 PM
re: Will New England Ever Have a Cisco? I'd like to give my $.02 and address #2 in OZIP's opinion.
SW developers had no problem with making good use of GAME (that was the name of OS on BN series). I was part of a SW team that worked closely with ANS and they were happy with the result - protocols (OSPF and BGP with extensive routing policies) and CLI. The problem, as I saw it than, was:
- perception by ISP of Welfleet as "good HW and buggy SW";
- lack of CLI and existence of MIB oriented TI with little scripting available;
- lack of ISIS since it was preferred by many ISP as IGP of choice.
chechaco 12/5/2012 | 3:15:02 PM
re: Will New England Ever Have a Cisco? Sorry, but I'm reading this thread backwards.
"Wellfleet router code was as solid as a rock by 1995, and yet Bay chose to make the Rapid City acquisition to make up for the LatticeSwitch screwup, and it was the must less stable and much less feature-rich Rapid City code that went forward into next generation Bay products."
The stack was solid but not portable. That became capparent when we've ported OSPF to NT. Rapid City used Phase2Net which was clearly lack features and scaled less then BN's stack but it was portable. And because portability was high priority of BayRS2000 things went the way they did.
Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:14:44 PM
re: Will New England Ever Have a Cisco? Thanks Geoff, great post!

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