No Room in the Switch

On the occasion of the Christmas Party, February 1998 -- the Last Ipsilon Supper.

In the beginning was ATM, and the ATM standards were without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the industry. And Pugs said, "IP over ATM." He was, of course expressing his opinion of the technology. However, a passing flock of venture capitalists, that happened to be circling overhead, overheard this phrase, and mistaking it for a statement of corporate direction, gave Pugs three and a half million dollars. And there was evening, and there was morning the first Ipsilon Day.

On the second day Pugs gathered about him the outcasts and the disaffected, the long-haired, the unwashed, and also some hardware engineers, and set about the corporate vision of robbing market share from the rich. This unkempt rabble began the task of turning the marketing reality into a dream. Many have since opined that more might have been achieved had the marketing dream been turned into reality. However, hindsight is an exact science. And there was evening, and there was morning the second Ipsilon Day.

Now many have inquired as to the origin of the name ‘Ipsilon.’ The cover story concerning the name of a cat in a Hungarian folk tale being less than convincing. We can now reveal that ‘Ipsilon’ is, in fact, an anagram of the phrase, ‘Lion Pis,’ thus neatly capturing both the founder’s business plan and the first marketing campaign, ‘IP: necessary and sufficient.’

And in those days, at the time when everyone returns to their own accountant to be taxed, during the reign of Augustus Clinton, the software team were heavy with product but there was found no room in the switch. And though they visited every switch in town still was there found no room in the switch. Thus, in the black back room (the Gerry Garcia Memorial Hardware Lab) the hardware team did deliver the first-born switch, and they named it Spinoli, for it was a stable product. And it was filled with the holy software, version 1.0.

And out in the field the industry press was watching over their readership by night and an analyst appearing to them in a dream said: "For unto us this day in Startup City is born a new market segment, and it shall be called IP switching." And leading their readers by the column they flocked into Startup City to see this new thing. And lo, they saw, and it was called IP switching.

About this time there were three wise Larry’s from the East who came seeking a startup that rose in the West. They came to pay homage to the infant chief executive. They came bringing gifts: the gold of engineering excellence, the sweet-smelling scent of marketing hype, and fifty dozen furry fish. But being warned, as in a dream, they returned unto their own country. Many have since suggested that had we understood the significance of the furry fish we would have understand Ipsilon a whole lot better.

Away in their little cubes the engineers were a-coding and a-watching over their compilations by night.

And the Angel of the Board appeared
And with the Angel a heavenly host
Running FreeBSD, somewhat faster than most
And with one voice they did rejoice
And the heavenly host proposed this toast
As the trumpet Blair’d the great fanfare
The Angel of the Board did thus declare:
"Hey guys, about three bucks a share."

And while this story has no Ending
With this, I think we’re Finnish'd.

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