What's become of 2008's 10 IT management start-ups to watch, Part 2

2008 management technology makers weather an economic recession, some seeing stellar results and others continuing to grow.

IT management software makers that launched prior to an economic recession show what it takes to market software designed to help IT departments do more with less.

The 10 companies profiled in 2008 for having the potential of a bright future at the start of an economic downturn prove they earned the recognition with product upgrades, partnerships and profits.

10 IT management technology start-ups to watch

10 technologies from 2009’s IT management start-ups to watch

Start-ups aim to tame management complexity

Here is a brief look at what the remaining five 2008’s IT management start-ups to watch accomplished since landing on Network World’s list.

New Relic

Why it made the list: New Relic came to market with veteran backing in the application performance management space. CEO Lewis Cirne headed up Wily Technology, which was considered an innovator in Java application management and now plays a large part in CA’s application performance management products. Industry watchers also pointed to the company’s penchant for cloud computing as a reason to watch its progress.

"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," said Cameron Haight, research vice president at Gartner, in 2008. "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."

Highlights from the last year: In the past 12 months, New Relic has quadrupled its customer base and expects to end the year with more than 3,000 customers. The company released three version of its Rails performance management, or RPM, software. The last release included the ability to monitor and manage Java applications. And New Relic introduced on-demand pricing for its IT management tool, allowing customers to pay by the hour for application management. Capabilities. 

PacketTrap Networks

Why it made the list: PacketTrap offers a "high-end product suite that starts with a free set of tools that is great for hands-on troubleshooting and administration," said Jim Frey, research director at Enterprise Management Associates, in 2008. 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." Its Perspective product was designed to address an under-served midmarket customer base that company founders identified.

Highlights from the last year: PacketTrap was acquired by Quest Software in a deal that closed this month. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but a company spokeswoman explained the economic downturn slowed product development for the start-up. The acquisition route will enable PacketTrap to fill the network management hole in Quest’s portfolio, while also better serving existing customers.

“The resources – headcount and budget – that Quest gives PacketTrap will allow us to build out the product much faster than we could do by ourselves,” says Anna Yen vice president of marketing at PacketTrap. “ Our customers can also take comfort that they’re no longer dealing with a start-up, that we’ll be around for a long time (Quest has a $1.5 billion market cap) as that was always an issue in a bake-off for us.”


Why it made the list: The British company packages its network management software as an appliance that enables network managers to quickly track and report on what is connected to the network for troubleshooting, security and capacity-planning purposes. Analysts at the time said the technology also bridged a gap between network management and security teams.

“Porttracker is an example of a technology of high priority to security management teams, in terms of visibility into actual network activity," said Scott Crawford, research director at EMA, in 2008. "Porttracker provides information as to what is connected to the network and where, which helps to correlate detected activity with known network nodes. This helps improve the accuracy of security event correlation, helping to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of network visibility."

Highlights from the last year: Porttracker updated its product to support more switch vendors including Nortel Baystack and Huawei Networks as well as HP ProCurve, 3Com, Cisco and Extreme Networks. The technology was also enhanced to interface with other systems. For instance, the company developed additional sync modules for the Infoblox IP address management market and support for Alcatel-Lucent’s VitalQIP technology.


Why it made the list: SevOne’s Performance Appliance Solution (PAS) captures performance data for capacity planning or ongoing monitoring and management by using such standard protocols as SNMP and Cisco’s NetFlow to collect network traffic data and measure how VoIP application traffic is impacting network performance, for instance. Industry watchers in 2008 noted the start-ups savvy approach to easing pain points for network managers.

"SevOne offers a product that is carefully crafted, packaged and priced to hit a growing market segment that is interested in a value-priced (or relatively inexpensive) but functionality rich product," said Rich Ptak, founder and principal analyst at Ptak, Noel and Associates. "The company identified specific pain points and came up with what appears to be a technically strong solution whose installation, implementation and payback period seem to go easily and start promptly."

Highlights from the last year: SevOne reports its revenue has quadrupled from 2007 to 2008 and is expected to nearly double in 2009. The company says it will be profitable in 2009, but it also secured $2 million in venture capital funding from Osage partners in April. The company also expanded its footprint internationally by opening a U.K. subsidiary to serve the EMEA geographic location.


Why it made the list: Zyrion promised to provide business service management (BSM) technology in its flagship Traverse software with a “strong network management foundation” for companies that might not be able to afford multiple management applications, company executives said at the time. Industry watchers noted the company’s history and plans for the future as reasons to watch Zyrion. Dubbing it a start-up with a mature product, Zyrion was a new undertaking for industry veterans.

“They are a polished-up re-launch of the NetVigil product, which was originally offered in the market by [CEO Vikas Aggarwal’s] first company -- Fidelia," said EMA's Frey last year. “They have some new features, and some very credible functionality via their business containers that will be of great value in bringing BSM to the midmarket.”

Highlights from the last year: Zyrion signed more than 20 customers in the past 12 months and transferred more than 100 NetVigil customers from NetScout this year, a company spokesman reports. The company also released Traverse 5.0, which includes NetFlow integration that provides customers with a single product to reduce mean time to repair for services. Zyrion also introduced Traverse Datacenter, software designed to provide BSM for massive scalability and data center infrastructure.

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