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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

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Who's using the product: While they couldn't reference customer names publicly, company officials say they expect to have more than 100 companies using the product by year-end.

Company: New Relic 

Founded: January 2008

Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.

Focus: RPM, or Rails performance management, software is delivered as a service. IT managers install a plug-in on the Ruby on Rails application they want to manage and the application delivers performance data back to New Relic for presentation and correlation. RPM has three paid subscription levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) and RPM Lite, which is free.

Why it's worth watching: Ruby on Rails is the open source Web application framework du jour for Web 2.0 applications, and industry watchers expect it to take a similar path as Java 2, Enterprise Edition, which took the place of many C++ applications in customer environments. Plus the company founder and CEO Lewis Cirne headed up Wily Technology, which was considered an innovator in Java application management.

"New Relic is doing for Ruby apps what Wily did for Java apps, but with a twist. They are doing it from a cloud perspective," says Gartner's Haight. "Data from plug-ins on Ruby applications flows to them and they present it in a portal, which gives the company a lot of insight into this application type that hasn't seen much play in the enterprise yet."

How company got its start: Following CA's acquisition of Wily in 2006, Cirne says he turned his attention to disproving some misconceptions around Rails applications, such as that they can't scale for the enterprise. "I focused on starting a company that could help Rails go mainstream as a serious business application, and I believe providing performance management will help," he says.

How company got its name: Cirne plugged his full name into a Web site anagram generator and one of the results, New Relic, stuck.

CEO: Cirne founded Wily in 1998 and developed its flagship performance monitoring solution, Introscope. Most recently he was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Benchmark Capital. He holds seven patents, including four related to Wily's core technology.

Funding: $3.5 million in Series A funding closed in February 2008 from Benchmark.

Who's using the product: New Relic claims more than 700 customers in production, of which over 50% are paying for service. Named customers include Ourstage, Shopify, iOffer and 37 Signals.

Company: PacketTrap Networks 

Founded: May 2007

Headquarters: San Francisco

Focus: The Perspective platform can be used to monitor network performance, manage faults and report on device availability data. It's targeted at organizations with between 100 and 5,000 employees. (Compare Network Monitoring and Management products.)

Why it's worth watching: PacketTrap offers a "high-end product suite that starts with a free set of tools that is great for hands-on troubleshooting and administration," says Jim Frey, senior analyst at EMA. The company also "leverages a large community of customers to participate in and drive the direction of the product," he says. And the company "has spent time developing some very valuable advanced policy and intelligent baselining features that commonly only come with much-higher-cost solutions."

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