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10 IT management start-ups to watch

Virtualization, application performance, software-as-a-service among management start-ups' focus areas

By , Network World
November 03, 2008 12:07 AM ET

Network World - Venture capital is becoming scarce in some tech sectors, but that hasn't stopped these 10 start-ups from delivering new tools for managing IT systems.

See a slideshow highlighting the top 10's products.

Newcomers delivering technologies designed to automate tasks, do more work with fewer resources and streamline operational processes could weather the financial storm better than some. By winning customer accounts with innovative approaches to reducing labor, improving performance and optimizing service delivery, rookies in the management market might earn scarce IT budget dollars. That's why despite venture capital investors being cautious, industry watchers say enterprise IT customers will continue to see new players in the management market.

"Innovation continues to occur for one because it is a large market -- there are a lot of applications and infrastructure that need managing -- and as technologies such as virtualization evolve in environments, we need tools to better manage and support the changes across environments," says Cameron Haight, research vice president at Gartner. "Historically the reasons to invest in management technology include reducing total cost of ownership, improving business and service quality, and responding better to customer demands. That value proposition holds true irrespective of the economic condition."

Here are 10 start-ups whose technologies hold the promise to improve enterprise IT management. (Here's our 2007 list and here's where those companies are now.)

Company: AppDNA 

Founded: January 2008

Headquarters: Chicago and London

Focus: AppTitude application-compatibility testing software helps IT professionals assess application version, operating system and virtualization options before it is deployed to a production environment. The software profiles and models various deployment scenarios and tells IT professionals the impact and technical changes the environment would undergo due to the application deployment without requiring extensive manual testing.

Why it's worth watching: As enterprise companies invest more in server and desktop virtualization technologies, products such as AppTitude will help IT managers determine which applications will perform better and maximize resource utilization on a virtual platform.

"People are trying to determine what the best delivery vehicle is for end-user applications. AppDNA checks dependencies and application attributes to gauge if an application would be suited to a Citrix thin client application, for instance," Gartner's Haight explains. "I've been somewhat surprised that there hasn't been more in the way of such assurance tools for the client environment as it evolves toward virtualization."

How company got its start: Spun out of IT consulting and software business Camwood Limited by founders hoping to develop commercial software that would ease corporate migrations on Windows platforms and promote the adoption of application virtualization technologies.

How company got its name: Reflects the idea of an application having DNA, or metadata, that can be used to help organizations best fit an application in their environment.

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