10 start-ups to watch

An anti-spam appliance. A truly wireless access point. A firewall for outbound traffic. Creative products addressing tough network problems are one hallmark of our 2004 picks.

The picks, their fortes

Bluewave Networks: Real-time route and traffic analytics
Cassatt: New data center infrastructure software
Cast Iron Systems: Application integration appliance
Convoq: Presence-enabled Web conferencing
Deepfile: Enterprise file management
Mirra: Media server
PanGo Networks: Location-based wireless LAN software
Strix Systems: Wireless LAN hardware
TurnTide: Anti-spam router
Vontu: Outbound firewall

Bluewave Networks:

Calming network and application performance storms Location:

Sunnyvale, Calif.

Company name: Founders hope "Bluewave" evokes the same feeling of tranquility you'd get from watching the ocean on a calm day.

How did the company start? CEO Kumar Sripadam and CTO Guna Ramireddy, engineers who worked together at IP equipment vendor Redback Networks, teamed in May 2001 to develop a product that delivers Layer 3 IP data in a meaningful way. Other products, they say, don't provide enough information about the network, where the problem resides and how that problem relates to applications.

Funding: Undisclosed amount of private funding.

CEO: Sripadam, who had been senior technical director for the engineering team that created Redback's first product.

Product: Infrastructure Analytics and Management System (INAMS) software.

Calming network and application performance storms

Why needlessly cobble together route, traffic flow and application performance information from disparate systems? That's the question Bluewave poses to enterprise network executives, offering them its flagship INAMS as an answer.

INAMS combines network topology information with IP traffic flow and routing data with detailed analysis of inter-router application traffic and real-time analysis of application packets, Sripadam says. Through this approach, Bluewave provides more application-specific data and more immediate analysis than competitors such as Ipsum Networks and Packet Design, he says. "We collect data on many different pieces of the network stack, and we can correlate that data in real time to, say, determine if a service degradation is due to a topology change," he says.

INAMS consists of two components. The first is INAMS Sensor, software that can be installed on a server, workstation or packaged with a proprietary appliance. The second is INAMS Console.

Sensors, which are distributed throughout a network, peer logically with routers. They watch traffic and routes, constantly updating a database, and can monitor routing protocols such as Open Shortest Path FirstBorder Gateway Protocol and Intermediate System-Intermediate System. The software can alert managers when thresholds are missed and create management events when network anomalies occur. Today, the product does not take automated corrective actions, but it will suggest potential fixes.

The INAMS Console runs on a Windows or Unix server and is the central management point for the Sensors. From the console, network managers can get a single view of routing and traffic analytics, and operators can replay routing and traffic events logged over time and correlate application performance problems with, for example, periods of network congestion. Network managers can access the INAMS Console via a secure Web interface.

INAMS became available in February, and the company says to expect a business services module by the beginning of May. Customers can buy INAMS' network modules for routing analytics, traffic analytics or a combination of the two. Pricing for the basic route-analytics features starts at $25,000 and can scale to $100,000 or more depending on customer specifications. Pricing is based on one Sensor and Console.

Bluewave says it has four INAMS customers, including managed service provider ViaNet.

- Denise Dubie

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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