How about Alaxala Networks? Light Reading reports on this new joint venture between NEC and Hitachi, which plans to build a router that will in theory atleast take on the Cisco-Juniper duoply in the router and switch business.
The idea was to produce more reliable routers and switches, a cry that soon-to-be Alaxala officials were hearing from customers, says Kazushige Arai, Alaxala’s general manager of business planning. “Service providers and large enterprises want to build more reliable networks that can be used all the time, as a lifeline service,” Arai says. “So, Hitachi and NEC decided to build a new platform to cover such requirements.” The company has 320 employees and $52 million in funding.
The US giants have been cranking in Japan, and rest of Asia, something which bothers local players like Huawei (which has teamed up with Avici.) Now Japanese want to get in on the action. It reminds me of the early days of PC, when Intel and Microsoft basically relegated Japanese giants to the second tier status. They see the same thing happening in the routers space. Routers, as you all know are the bedrock of our networked lives.
Cisco’s Mike Volpi and Juniper’s Scott Kriens have on separate occassions told me that the router is the Pentium of the connected world. In other words, they will be everywhere. Mike Volpi, recently quipped, “we started with a network who’s sole job was to move data around, it’s a relatively dumb mechanism. Where we are today is building a network that enables customers and ISV’s to build applications (in essence this is what Moore was referring to earlier when he said that the internet is the new application bus).” Switching back to Alaxala, Light Reading quotes consultant Dan Golding of the Burton Group as saying: “The buzz in the carrier community is that [Alaxala] didn’t want to build a more reliable router; they wanted to build a more ‘Japanese’ router. I don’t think they’re in a strong technical position, but if they can get anything going, they’re in a good cultural and social position.”
Research firm, Current Analysis was more generous when it says, “Even with its great start, built-in customer base, and backing from two of the largest telecommunications firms in the world, it is not clear if ALAXALA will be able to properly execute on its plan and capture a significant portion of the very large and potentially lucrative service provider backbone router market. Even with its great start, built-in customer base, and backing from two of the largest telecommunications firms in the world, it is not clear if ALAXALA will be able to properly execute on its plan and capture a significant portion of the very large and potentially lucrative service provider backbone router market.”