Tony Li back at Cisco

Routing software engineer Tony Li has landed back at Cisco Systems eight years after he reportedly nailed his letter of resignation to an office door at the company.

Li started on Monday, Dec. 6, according to Mike Volpi, senior vice president in Cisco's routing technology group. He will be working on projects based on Cisco's new IOS-XR operating system, Volpi says.

"There are three or four areas where we want him to do some breakthrough work for us," Volpi says, declining to detail that work.

Li left Cisco in exasperation, according to published reports, in 1996 to become the fifth employee at Juniper Networks. He left Juniper in 1999 to help found Procket Networks.

Cisco acquired certain Procket routing hardware and software assets earlier this year for about US$90 million. Li had left Procket shortly before Cisco acquired those assets.

As for those Procket assets, Cisco has discontinued Procket's ASICs, Volpi says. "We didn't find a right fit for what they had developed," he says.

Ex-Procket hardware engineers are instead working on a couple of next generation Cico network processor designs -- follow ons to the 40G bit/sec silicon packet processors Cisco rolled out with the new CRS-1 core router last May.

On the software side, Procket's code is being used to build new software "bases" for the enterprise market, Volpi says. He did not elaborate.

"We found a lot of applicability of their code base to that market segment," he says.

A small portion of Procket's team has moved to Cisco's enterprise development group while the majority of Procket software engineers are working on Cisco's new IOS-XR operating system, also introduced in May.

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