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10 open source companies to watch

Products range from databases to data integration

By , Network World
September 02, 2008 12:06 AM ET

Page 2 of 2

 Company name: Qumranet

Founded: 2005

Location: Sunnyvale, Calif.

What does the company offer? Its product – Solid ICE – provides a hosted desktop virtualization environment that runs in the corporate data center.

Why is it worth watching? The company is tapping Linux kernel virtualization technology called KVM to provide IT with centralized desktop and image management, high availability and provisioning for any desktop operating system. It also provides the connection protocol and management system.

How did the company get its start? Qumranet wrote KVM and open sourced the code taking advantage of processor advancements from Intel and AMD, and improvements in Linux scheduling and memory management.

How did the company get its name? Named after the Qumran caves in Israel, where the Dead Sea scrolls were found.

CEO and background: Benny Schnaider has been in senior management, engineering and strategic consulting roles at many companies, including Cisco, Amdahl/Fujitsu, Hitachi, IDT, Sun and 3Com. Schnaider has a master's degree in engineering management from Santa Clara University, and a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the Technion (Israel Institute of technology).

Funding: Sequoia Capital and Norwest Venture Partners.

Who's using the product? Commercial Aircraft Division of Israel Aerospace Industries and several Global 2000 companies, which the company does not make public.

 Company name: XAware

Founded: XAware's open source project was launched in November 2007.

Location: Colorado Springs, Colo.

What does the company offer? XAware offers open source data integration software for creating and managing composite data services.

Why is the company worth watching? Data integration is a must have in today's distributed networks, and XAware is throwing out the old proprietary software model it had in favor of an open platform based on the same technology with years of development and testing behind it.

How did the company get its start? Kirstan Vandersluis, who helped develop and patent XAware's product suite, co-developed an XML-based data services application and began full-time work on the product in March 2000.

How did the company get its name? XAware's name is a recognition of XML, the markup language that makes it possible to read, write and transfer data between different sources.

CEO and background: Tim Harvey. Previously, Harvey was senior vice president of sales and marketing at S1. He also was president and COO of SynQuest. Harvey, a budding triathlete, graduated from the University of Florida with a business administration bachelor's degree in finance and served four years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

Funding: XAware has secured three rounds of funding totaling $26.4 million. The most recent ($7.4 million) was led by vSpring Capital. Other venture capital firms include GMT Capital, Sequel Ventures, ITU Ventures and BMJP LLC.

Who's using the product: Customers include AXA, ING, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Genworth, Synovus, Northrop Gruman and Hire a Hero.

 Company name: SnapLogic

Founded: 2006

Location: San Mateo, Calif.

What does the company offer? SnapLogic offers an open source data integration framework for integrating data on both sides of the enterprise firewall. Recent additions include links to Salesforce.com and SugarCRM.

Why is it worth watching? The company lets users integrate software-as-a-service data with data behind the firewall on the back of reusable "snap-together" components and a browser-based design tool to create those integrations.

How did the company get its start? Gaurav Dhillon, the founder and former CEO of Informatica, and Mike Pittaro, Informatica's director of customer services, recognized the need for software for many large corporate integration tasks.

How did the company get its name? SnapLogic is evocative of the browser-based, drag-and-drop interface of SnapLogic Designer, the graphical tool used to create data integration pipelines using the SnapLogic framework.

CEO and background: Before taking over SnapLogic, Chris Marino was an investor and advisor to several start-ups, as well as the founder and CEO of server load-balancing vendor Resonate.

Funding: $2.5 million Series A round of venture capital from Dhillon Capital.

Who's using the product? The company has publicly announced one customer, KQED Public Broadcasting.

 Company name: Acquia

Founded: December 2007

Location: Andover, Mass.

What does the company offer? Provides support and services for open source social publishing system Drupal. Acquia also has its own distribution of Drupal code-named Carbon and a set of network services code-named Spokes.

Why is it worth watching? This is the first commercial distribution of Drupal, which has racked up two million downloads and is quickly becoming a popular content management system in the open source community and beyond.

How did the company get its start? Acquia co-founder Dries Buytaert created Drupal in 2001 as a student bulletin board application at the University of Antwerp. Buytaert and Jay Batson saw a growing interest among user organizations for support.

How did the company get its name? The company says the Web is all about the process of discovery. During World War II, the U.S. military utilized Navajo Code Talkers for secure communications. According to the code talker’s dictionary the word for locate is "a-kwe-eh," translated literally to "spot." Our translation "Acquia," fits nicely with the water metaphor in the Drupalsphere.

CEO and background: Batson is Acquia's CEO and co-founder along with Buytaert who serves as CTO. Acquia is the second technology company Batson has co-founded, and is his second commercial open source effort (the previous having been Pingtel, which was acquired by Bluesocket in 2007).

Funding: Investors include North Bridge Venture Partners, Sigma Partners and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures.

Who's using the product? Acquia's product line is currently in beta and will be generally available in the fall 2008. More than 250,000 Web sites are running on Drupal software, including Warner Brothers Records, Sony MyPlay, Popular Science, The Onion and Amnesty International

 Company name: Openmoko

Founded: March 2006

Location: Taipei, Taiwan

What does the company offer? Recently released its Neo FreeRunner, a free and open source mobile platform that enables development of customized mobile devices and applications. It's a computer in the form of a phone.

Why is it worth watching? When Openmoko says open they mean it, even encouraging users to crack the case and have a go at the hardware. Freerunner can be a phone, but users can craft it into any sort of handheld device by developing their own applications or loading ones built by the Openmoko community. Openmoko has published the software, industrial design and most recently published the schematics for its Openmoko Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner phones.

How did the company get its start? It all started when Openmoko software engineer and electronics enthusiast, Sean Moss-Pultz, said "I can never upgrade or customize my phone. If I want new features or software, I have to buy a new phone every few months!" Inspiration followed and Moss-Pultz set out to free the mobile phone.

How did the company get its name? Open means developers and consumers have the freedom to contribute value to the platform however they like. Moko is abbreviated for Mobile Kommunikations, with the "K" dedicated to the hacker community who helped create software that powers the Openmoko platform.

CEO and background: Sean Moss-Plutz was raised in San Diego, before joining First International Computer to head up special projects. His fluency in Chinese and understanding of the mobile market led him into the CEO role at OpenMoko.

Funding: Openmoko is wholly owned by First International Computer.

Who's using the product? Corporate customers are all under nondisclosure agreements, but the product currently sells to developers.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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