Startup Matisse Preps Optical Switches

The as-yet unnamed product line is slated to debut in the second half of this year and will target large enterprise customers, particularly in the financial services, health-care and federal and state government markets, said Sam Mathan, CEO of Matisse.

"To build infrastructure [today] in the enterprise data center, you use a lot of big switches. The best way to look at what we do is we take a big switch and distribute its fabric on fiber and distribute its blades into multiple locations," Mathan said. "But it looks and feels like a single virtual switch."

Resulting networks will be faster and more scalable, he said.

"[We'll provide] purpose-built products that are really designed for the next generation of optical infrastructure rather than switches that have evolved into larger bandwidth but are not really designed to [operate] at the 10-Gigabit interconnect requirements of today's world," he said.

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While the product line will require a fair amount of direct touch, Mathan said Matisse will bring on high-end systems integration and reseller partners to help build its customer base.

Matisse will begin discussions with potential partners in the second and third quarters of 2005, he said.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company was founded in 2000 and funded in September 2003 with a $21 million investment from several venture capitalist firms. The company has already received patents for its optical interconnect technology.

Mathan, a 25-year telecommunications industry veteran, joined the firm four months ago. He previously served as president and CEO of fault-tolerant routing vendor Amber Networks and as vice president of Ascend Communications, a vendor of service provider infrastructure.