[rescue] Re: IOS

N.Miller vraptor at promessage.com
Wed Jul 30 16:24:02 CDT 2003

On Wednesday, July 30, 2003, at 11:36 AM, Jonathan C. Patschke wrote:
> Catalyst was bought from at least two different companies (Kalpana and
> Grand Junction) and merged into a single product line which later had
> IOS stapled on top.  PIX was also bought from another company.

Crescendo was aquired in late 1993--the Catalyst line of switches
starting with the 5000 came from them.  Kalpana (Cat 3K) was
aquired in 1994, as was LightStream (ATM) and Newport Systems
(small/medium, or "SMB" software routers).

Crescendo and Kalpana were housed together off the main Cisco
HQ until 1995 (I started in Jun of 95).  Because they had not
been integrated into the Cisco engineering environment, they
were a total PITA from a user support and infrastructure
support standpoint.

As a result of the fall out from their slow integrations, Cisco
moved faster and faster with the following aquisitions to convert
their engineering environments to the "Cisco way".  When I left they
were shooting for 90 days max.

Grand Junction (inventor of 100B-T), NTI (Pix), Internet Junction
(SMB internet sharing), and Combinet (ISDN) were aquired in 1995.
In 1996, it was NetSys (network simulation/design), Granite (gigabit
switching), Nashoba (token-ring switching), Telebit (MICA), Stratacom
(mis-spoke on that one--ATM and Frame Relay), TGV Software (provided
DSL software for the majority of DSL connection products).

It gets worse after that. :-)

>> Looks like... buy and then "extend" and OS to look a little MORE like
>> IOS than maybe it should.
> Actually, starting anew like that takes the "old cruft" argumnent right
> ouf from under them.  They had a chance to make them platforms for
> cleaner IOS implementations, and they made it even worse.  But, I'm 
> just
> an armchair quarterback; I don't know what was going on in their heads.

In the time that I was at Cisco, from about 1996 to 2001, the 
software groups were reorganized no less than three times (I mean 
reorgs) in an attempt to "Fix" (Official Management Term) IOS.  They got
as far as "eat your own dog food stage" with IOS-nextgen internally and
with a few external alpha testers.  However, the defect rate of the
release version of IOS was creeping up (nearing the 1 defect per 10K
lines infamous mark--what do you expect when the best and brightest
are moved to the "nextgen" group?), so it was again re-org'd shortly
before I left in Apr. of '01, and the sole focus was bug-killing.

The entire source code for IOS at the time was something like 30
million lines, iirc--and growing rapidly.

Cisco gives a lot of lip service to their retention rate out of
acquisitions, and in fact they do have a high retention rate.  The
VP of Enterprise is one of the CEOs from Kalpana or Crescendo, and
they are the type of guys who can go in the lab and debug stuff,
not your "suit" types.  But in the shuffling of IOS again and again,
they pissed off a lot of the guys that were there before the
acquisitions.  I remember the mad scramble the day Tony Li nailed
his employee badge and DES card to the door of the VP of IOS.
Foundry and Red Back Networks were both started with cadres of
Cisco engineers.

Anyway, that was probably more history than you wanted to hear. :-)


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