Kamran worked on the DS1 and DS3 modules that had to be re-designed to fit into the smaller ‘327’ form factor, featuring an eight-slot chassis (versus the seventeen slots of the ‘454’) that was only three-rack-units high. John Diab became seriously ill during the fall of ‘99 and, although he kept working, much of the workload fell onto Kamran and Don himself for the balance of the year.
Chuck moved into the much vaunted ASIC group shortly thereafter, as a plan was put in place to eventually cost-reduce the ‘327’ with a new ASIC (which, ultimately, was canned). He, too, was lauded for his FPGA and ASIC work.
Next, Kenny Choo arrived, on loan to the ‘327’ program, in order to relieve the growing pressure. He split his time between the ‘454’ and ‘327’ products to help integrate Ethernet functionality onto the ‘327’ platform. Kenny eventually joined the ‘327’ team on a full-time basis.
It was a hectic time for the team assigned the mission-critical task of bringing the baby brother of the ‘454’ to market. Don Turner, for example, regularly flew “red-eye-flights” to join Tom Hoffman's software engineers, based in Virginia , for weekend meetings. There they hammered out how the specific code for the ‘327’ would piggyback on the base software loads that drove the ‘454.’ Don would then return to Petaluma and conduct his “normal” workweek. As that became too much, Charles Chang moved over full-time from the ‘454’ team “to help out and that made a big difference,” according to Don, in bringing the ‘327’ to market.
Thomas Steiner was hired next, but securing approval for a working Visa delayed his start date until almost the end of 2000, just as the product was approaching general availability. In the meantime, Lik-Seng Lim, Brian Acker, and Hao Tran joined the ‘327’ effort before Thomas arrived. Luke Liong arrived in May 2000 and over the years supported hardware development on the ‘327,’ including DS1/E1, DS3/E3, OC-3, OC-12, OC-48, and both the Gigabit Ethernet and 10GbE multi-service modules. Angelo Purugganan started with the group as a technician, sometime in mid-2000 as well, and this contingent formed the core ‘327’ group until more resource-swapping occurred.
The 327 Team Evolves After the Product’s Launch
These changes manifest themselves early in 2001, after the initial version of the product was released, when John Proctor and Don Turner moved among groups within Cisco. John came over to lead the ‘327’ team, leaving his position as a manager under Dan Jones, who led the ‘454’ hardware team. Don, concurrently, moved from the ‘327’ leadership role to assume Dan Jones’s directorship on ‘454’ hardware, since Dan opted for retirement, after achieving his four-year vesting milestone.
Jeff Ogden would later come to manage the ‘454’ sustaining group as that product secured a massive installed base and matured as the world’s premiere MSPP.
John Chambers Bullish on Optical Transport During 2000 and 2001
Cisco’s CEO John Chambers addressed Cisco investors and industry analysts alike, on January 10, 2001. He reportedly  said “he would be ‘very disappointed’ if Cisco didn't hit his goal of $3 billion to $7 billion in revenue by the end of 2001.”
Naturally, the company’s investors and Cisco-watchers pressed Chambers for details as to how Cisco would reach this goal. He added, “You'll want to watch our momentum with the 15454 and then if we come up with a lower end of that product, which we probably will, [watch] how we do within that lower-end product area.”
Then, as Chambers had hinted, on January 31, 2001, Cisco Systems officially launched the ONS 15327. Like the Steve Jobs-run Apple, with products available as they are launched, Cisco’s “mini-me” product was ready to ship to Cisco’s carrier customers that day.
The popular fiber optics rag went on to say, “While the ONS 15454 eases bandwidth bottlenecks between the Internet's fiber optic backbones and the copper telephone networks, the ONS 15327 is designed to extend that bandwidth all the way to office buildings and other multitenant units.”
Cerent alumni, who knew Carl Russo very well, held their breath during Dennis Miller’s on stage repartee with Carl. Everyone expected Carl to be funny, or something, with Dennis, but Carl stayed right on script. That was a surprise.
Tough Love and Cisco’s First ONS 15327 Customer
In 2013, I asked Brad Lester, a service provider customer working for US WEST (then Qwest, now CenturyLink) who evaluated the ‘327’ (and who had earlier evaluated and approved the ‘454’ for deployment), about its suitability for their network.
He replied with some tough love, “I also looked at the 15327 in 2001. It was a perfect CLEC box and had the same functionality as the R1-R2 15454. The CLEC and small independents’ had much different needs than the ILECs. We couldn’t use the ‘327’ for SHARP or SHNS because it didn’t have the framed DS3s or the PMs our services required. It was a perfect product for the market it was developed for. Unlike the 15454, it couldn’t be easily upgraded to meet our needs.”
Indeed, Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), such as tw telecom, went on to purchase a number of 15327s, in conjunction with their installed base of 15454s, for their network build-out across the Untied States. The ILECs, such as US WEST, did not.
Congratulations to the ‘327’ engineering team for bringing ‘mini-me’ to life in less than eighteen months.
 As of August 2016, Dave Doolan remains one of the few people at Cisco who worked on the ‘454’–‘327’ teams at the start of the millennium.
 To scale the engineering organization, Carl Russo established engineering centers around the U.S. One of these sites was located in Virginia and the main engineering function was software development, including developing ‘327’ software that built upon and interworked with evolving ‘454’ software.
 Cisco Hatches Cerent ‘Mini-Me,’ Steve Harvey, Light Reading, January 15, 2001.
 Cisco’s IP + Optical event also featured the introduction of its 12400 series of Internet routers to counter Juniper’s advances in the routing (IP) market. UK’s The Register reported on January 31, 2001, the claims of Cisco’s Larry Lang that the “12416 router delivers a twofold improvement scalability over competitive 10Gbps systems.” He added, “Putting the 12400 series against Juniper’s products was like ‘comparing four Volkswagens to one Porsche.’”
 In spite of the dot.com bust and impending telecom meltdown, Cisco was one of the few companies bullish on telecom. They had the largest R&D percentage change, according to the IEEE, from 2000 to 2001. Cisco increased its R&D by 17 percent in 2001 to rank eighth in overall investment, much higher than Lucent ranked 17th in 2001 with a 30 percent drop in R&D expenditures, and Nortel ranked 19th that year with a 35 percent cut in R&D. Cisco appeared to be on a roll and the hiring for critical optical transport products continued through 2001.
 Cisco used much of their optical R&D to develop two products to eventually replace their ‘327.'