Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ixia Communications acquires BreakingPoint Systems

A friend of mine mailed me a link to a TechCrunch article that got me thinking about ICPSR:

Network Testing Consolidation: Ixia Pays $160M Cash For Security-Focused BreakingPoint Systems

So what does this have to do with ICPSR?

Almost eleven years ago, Ixia made its very first acquisition:

Ixia Announces the Acquisition of Caimis, Inc.

(The link above is from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.)

Caimis was a small software company that a handful of us founded in 2000.  Some had come from a pioneering Internet company called ANS Communication, and were looking for something very different after having been acquired by Worldcom in 1998.  And others were from CAIDA, which is very much still alive and well (unlike ANS Communications or Worldcom).

Founding and growing Caimis was an exciting time, and selling the company to Ixia was a hard, but good, decision for us.  The deal closed in late 2001 just after the 9/11 attacks, and that made the long flight to Los Angeles to finalize the papers even more "exciting" than usual.

Ixia was a maker of hardware and had a pretty thorough process for manufacturing systems, assigning part numbers to every last item, and managing projects with an amped-up version of MS Project.  We were a very small, very loose software company with very little process.  This led to a gigantic clash in cultures, and things took a turn for the worse after six months:  Ixia decided to close down the Ann Arbor office and shut down several projects.

Like a few others, I decided to stay in Ann Arbor, and was looking around for the next thing to do in mid 2002.  Eventually I came across an ad in the NYT or perhaps Chronicle that a place called ICPSR was looking to hire a new technology director.

Working at an organization which was unlikely to be sold, or moved, or merged, or.... was very attractive at that time. Also, working in a more stable situation was highly desirable after seven years of constant change and turmoil (some good but some not very nice at all).

The job itself looked interesting.  Basically a CIO/CTO type job at a medium-sized not-for-profit.  Technology leader.  Part of the senior management team.  Work closely with the CEO.  And the entire team was in Ann Arbor - no more late night and early morning phone calls on a routine basis with colleagues and employees all over the world!  So I interviewed and got the job, and having been having a lot of fun at ICPSR ever since.

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