Start-up SevOne tackles severe performance problems

SevOne's appliance helps network managers deal with network and application issues


Start-up launches appliance designed to help enterprise network managers better deal with severe network and application-performance management problems.

Start-up SevOne Tuesday introduced its network- and application-performance management technology that's aimed at giving network managers a less costly, easier-to-install alternative to legacy products.

SevOne, founded in February 2005, unveiled its Performance Appliance Solution (PAS) product that company officials say will help capture performance data for capacity planning or ongoing monitoring and management. (View this and Network World's other Products of the Week.) For instance, midsize-to-large companies might want to use PAS to get a network-performance baseline before they roll out VoIP applications, or have it running to measure how VoIP-application performance is affecting other applications. (Compare application performance-monitoring products.) 

"Customers need an easy way to capture data and apply performance expertise in a repeatable way," says Michael Phelan, president and CEO of the Newark, Del.-based start-up. "We developed a distributed, peer-to-peer architecture for network management that gives us the ability to manage large, complex networks without making it difficult for the customer."

The company was self-funded until July 2006, when it raised $1.5 million of outside capital in a transaction led by Osage Ventures of Philadelphia. Other investors included John Ryan, the founder of SunGard; Jonathan Brassington, CEO of Liquidhub; Adrian Stone, CEO of Sureplan; and Lawrence Phelan, managing partner of Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg.

SevOne, named after the slang for the "severity one" performance problems network managers face, packages its technology on five appliances that range in capabilities depending on the size of the environment to be managed.

The appliances install in a data center "as close to end users as possible," and capture network traffic data to help customers get a baseline measurement of typical performance in their environment. When performance strays or applications start to hog bandwidth, PAS will alert network managers. (Compare network monitoring and management products.)

The technology uses such standard protocols as SNMP and Cisco's NetFlow to collect network traffic data. SevOne officials say that format enables the appliances to communicate in a peer-to-peer fashion and improves scalability. The appliances use agentless monitoring methods, and a SOAP-based API helps them communicate and determine which appliance should process data and which should report on the results, the vendor says.

"There is a bottleneck in every performance-management product because as you put more collectors on the network, it slows performance down," says SevOne CTO Vess Bakalov, who adds the company competes with products from InfoVista and Concord's eHealth, which is now part of CA's management software portfolio. "Our boxes are both collectors and reporters, and work in a peer-to-peer manner, so the more boxes you have, the faster the data collection and reporting is."

PAS devices cost $25,000 to $165,000 based on how many elements will be managed, and the types and number of appliances to be installed.

SevOne has 26 employees and lists companies such as Comcast, HBO, Credit Suisee, Hawaii Telecom and JPMorgan Chase among its customers.

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