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A year of progress

Apr 26, 20047 mins

Proven products. Paying customers. New funding. Our start-ups to watch from 2003 have had a good year.

If you think of wireless LAN switching today, chances are Aruba Wireless Networks will pop to mind. The same can be said for 10G Ethernet and Force10 Networks, or enterprise-class instant messaging and IMlogic. These companies became leaders in their niches, although they are still only corporate babies – start-ups we selected to watch in 2003.

As any parent knows, babies can be perceptive and agile. These and the other seven start-ups we profiled last year have proven wise beyond their corporate years. Each one has battled tough market forces to parlay beta testers into paying customers. Each has signed technology integration or marketing agreements with some of the biggest, most respected vendors around. They have even secured more funding – $76.5 million total – despite the continued clampdown on financing.

Some of these companies have achieved greater success than others, but all have accomplishments about which they can rightfully boast. Certainly, each bears continued watching.

Won widespread respect
CompanyAruba Wireless Networks
Flagship productAruba 5000 enterprise-class WLAN switch.
Finances$20 million secured in second round closed in September, bringing total to $29.5 million.
12-month overview

• Rolled out the Aruba 5000, the Aruba 800 stackable WLAN switch and the Aruba 50 access points, as well as management and security tools.

• Appointed Don LeBeau, a former Cisco senior executive, as CEO.

• Partnered with Avaya, Funk Software and Zone Labs for their technology expertise.
NotesAruba has fared well among the cluster of vendors vying for the attention of WLAN users. The company says it has shipped more than 300 switches and 3,000 access points to more than 90 paying customers, including Alliance Capital, Dartmouth College, Legal Services of New York and the University of Virginia. And Aruba has signed on more than 100 resellers worldwide.
CompanyForce10 Networks
Flagship productE-Series 10G Ethernet switches.
FinancesNo addition to the $210 million reported as of February 2003.
12-month overview

• Added advanced security and resiliency features to the E-Series switches and rolled out a compact line-rate 10G Ethernet switch/router.

• Appointed Marc Randall, previously senior vice president of engineering, as CEO.

• Signed IBM as a reseller.
NotesE-Series switches have become a popular choice for grid networking among supercomputer centers such as Argonne National Laboratory and the San Diego Supercomputing Center. However, Force10 still must battle Cisco and Extreme Networks for the enterprise LAN core.
Flagship productIM Manager, enterprise-class IM management software.
FinancesNo addition to the $18 million in funding reported as of January 2003.
12-month overview

• Released IM Manager 6.0, providing real-time business policy enforcement, role-based provisioning and authentication, and systems management; and IM Detector, a free tool for discovering and reporting on enterprise IM traffic.

• Integrated McAfee anti-virus technology and Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003 with IM Manager.
NotesIMlogic is turning into the go-to vendor for enterprise IM management, particularly among financial services firms grappling with regulatory compliance issues. Amerex Energy, FTN Financial and Stifel Nicholaus are customers.
Flagship productNC-1000 Web Security Gateway.
Finances$21 million secured in third round closed in April 2003, plus another $1 million in July, bringing total to $55 million.
12-month overview

• Enhanced the NC-1000 with a network firewall, security for FTP applications and global enterprise management capabilities.

• Co-founded an OASIS technical committee developing a specification for letting application security products share data about vulnerabilities.
NotesNetContinuum claims approximately 40 customers in financial services, retail and manufacturing, including, Navy Federal Credit Union, Ross Stores, Sumitomo and the U.S. departments of energy, the interior and transportation.
Strengthened their reputations:
CompanyTopspin Communications
Flagship productTopspin Switched Computing System, for virtualizing data center resources and creating InfiniBand clusters.
Finances$20 million secured in third round in November, bringing total to more than $67 million.
12-month overview

• Added intelligence that enables the Switched Computing System to translate policies, defined by third-party or homegrown provisioning applications, into actions that map together server, storage and networking resources on the fly.

• Released a 24-port InfiniBand stackable switch and an Ethernet gateway.

• Rounded out its InfiniBand software stack with a driver for the Intel Itanium 2-based Windows Server 2003.
NotesTopspin’s success in forging technology integration agreements and deploying product has given advocates of the much-maligned InfiniBand high-speed I/O switching fabric a reason for hope. The company has technology integration deals with Dell, IBM, Oracle and RLX Technologies, for instance, and has deployed its switching system within national labs, universities and large financial firms. Prudential Insurance is an enterprise customer.
CompanySana Security
Flagship productPrimary Response, server-based intrusion-prevention software.
Finances$10 million secured in third round in January, bringing total to $22 million.
12-month overview

• Released Primary Response 2.1, providing simultaneous support for Linux, Microsoft Exchange Server and Windows 2003, and worm suppression and enterprise-class manageability.

• Established product interoperability and co-marketing partnerships with Guardent (now part of VeriSign), Intrusion and Micromuse, and signed more than 25 resellers.
NotesSana claims more than 75 enterprise deployments in the government, financial services, entertainment and technology industries. Examples include the United States Air Force Material Command, News Corp., Smith & Hawken and Raytheon.
Flagship productVieo 1000, an application infrastructure management appliance.
Finances$5.5 million secured in a second-round extension in July, bringing total to approximately $45 million.
12-month overview

• Released the Vieo 1000 for general availability.

• Partnered with a handful of vendors, including BEA Systems, Dell, IBM, Oracle and Sun.

• Helped initiate The Open Group effort to create a common industry management architecture and a set of standards profiles for interoperability.
NotesVieo is so certain its purpose-built appliance is far superior to traditional software management tools that it will install the Vieo 1000 for free in an enterprise data center and guarantee that within 24 hours it will be delivering greater value than the existing software-only management tools. Vieo hasn’t had any takers, but has met with about 10 companies interested in the idea. But Vieo says it is working with 12 beta users, has another 20 test installations planned, and that it already has “numerous” paying customers, including Smith & Associates.
CompanyZultys Technologies
Flagship productMP1200 IP PBX.
FinancesFinances for this privately funded company remain undisclosed.
12-month overview

• Rolled out the MX250, an IP PBX for small and midsize business networks and branch offices; MXgroup, software for networking the MX250s across a corporation; and several IP phones.

• Established a product licensing program for the MX250 that lets customers expand their existing phone systems or get a new one for a minimal outlay.

• Established direct sales offices or signed on distributors in 43 countries.
NotesZultys is quietly building a name for itself worldwide, having signed approximately 100 MX1200 customers and 350 MX250 customers, the company says. Still, its biggest challenge remains getting enterprise users tied to traditional telephony vendors to consider its IP PBXs.
Refocused to improve growth:
Flagship productAvaki Data Grid, enterprise information integration software.

No addition to the $20 million reported as of February 2003.

12-month overview

• Added more sophisticated data-provisioning capabilities with Avaki Data Grid 4.0.

• Created the Enterprise Data Integration Framework for leveraging best-of-breed integration tools and Avaki’s grid technology. The framework will be a feature of Avaki Data Grid 5.0, which the company says is due out soon.

• Inked a marketing and technology integration deal with IBM, and a reseller agreement with Sun.
NotesAvaki has gone from calling itself a grid vendor to a provider of enterprise information infrastructure software (which happens to rely on a data grid). That’s a subtle shift, but one that resonates better with customers, CEO Tim Yeaton says. With this shift, Avaki has moved beyond its original life sciences and pharmaceutical target markets to financial services, manufacturing and petrochemical. It now reports having more than 25 customers.
Flagship productZX-1000 File Switch, a network node that enables creation of a scalable network-attached storage array.
FinancesNo addition to the $16 million reported as of November 2001.
12-month overview

• Released the ZX-1000, with support for Microsoft’s Common Internet File System protocol.

• Hired veteran executive Alan Kessler, most recently CEO at IP SAN vendor Intransa, as CEO.

• Refocused engineering team under leadership of Alan Brown, most recently vice president of engineering at Intransa.
NotesUnder its new leadership (Kessler is the third Z-Force CEO and Brown the third vice president of engineering), Z-Force is focusing on bolstering the ZX-1000 with support for Network File System and other protocols, adding enterprise-class manageability and improving performance based on feedback from early customers and beta testers, Kessler says.