Apr. 22nd, 2006 01:02 pm
bwh: (Default)

On Wednesday afternoon everyone in my office was called to a company meeting. This surely indicated something bigger than the internal development milestones we just reached. In fact the big news was that we were to merge with another startup. This is usually bad news for anyone but investors trying to cut their losses, but I'm cautiously optimistic in this case.

We at Level 5 are working on high-speed Ethernet controllers (currently running a pair of 1 Gbps ports, moving to 10 Gbps in our next product) with support for virtualisation, together with software that takes advantage of that to run most of TCP and UDP without the overhead of system calls and context-switching. Our counterparts at SolarFlare are working on a physical interface (PHY) for 10GBase-T, which apparently involves fiendishly difficult signal processing and hasn't yet been publicly demonstrated by any company. (Non-standard variants that don't work over the full 100 metres have been done, though.) Together we could offer a more-or-less complete package for 10GBase-T, and maybe even be the first to do so. So it's not a bad match.

As for whether this is really a merger, I don't know. The investors, some of which we already have in common, will be putting more money in to give the two companies equal book value before they are combined. Our name will go, but we have reasons for wanting to drop it (I leave those to your imagination) and we have a separate brand name for our products. Their CEO becomes ours, but we've had an interim CEO for the past few months who wasn't expected to stay in that position.

February 2011

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