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Interop Las Vegas: 10 Cool Startups

Will one of the startups at the 2013 Interop Las Vegas conference launch the next big thing in enterprise IT? Take a look at some contenders.

The Interop IT Conference and Expo begins on Monday, bringing IT professionals from throughout the world to Las Vegas for a week-long look at the business world's most prominent tech trends. As they explore topics ranging from enterprise mobility and BYOD to changing network architecture and SDN, attendees will hear from leaders at many of the industry's most influential companies, such as Cisco and Samsung.

Interop's reach stretches beyond the established powers, however, and includes a variety of innovative startups. Is one of these new kids on the block developing the next big thing in enterprise IT? Here are 10 of the coolest companies hoping to make a splash.

Lacuna Systems

What It Makes: Application monitoring appliances.

Why It's Cool: Lacuna Systems makes Indico, an app monitoring appliance designed to detect issues before they affect end users and to help businesses embrace the cloud. It gathers metrics at the load balancer level in order to pinpoint a problem's location and to generate data suited to modern, high-volume demands. Indico can ameliorate application sprawl, for example, by correlating applications and throughput to determine which applications are installed but not in use. Lacuna Systems, whose technology partners include Citrix, believes this insight into applications' locations and performance levels empowers business to more confidently move to the cloud, assured that mission-critical applications won't be blindsided by an undetected issue.

[ For ongoing, complete Interop Las Vegas 2013 coverage, see InformationWeek's Interop Special Report. ]


What It Makes: Real-time network analysis tools.

Why It's Cool: Napatech produces intelligent adapters designed to help appliance vendors deliver real-time network analytics. Designed for use in standard servers, Napatech products -- which draw on partnerships with large makers of Deep Packet Inspection software, such as Qosmos and Procera Networks -- help networks run smoothly by speeding up admins' decision making. Napatech's analytics tools also require relatively little CPU firepower and are highly configurable, allowing real-time data to be distributed at any time on up to 32 CPU cores. The company's technology can be applied to a range of network needs, from appliances with 100 Gbps of throughput performance to mobile network analysis solutions involving GTP tunneling support.

Tail-f Systems

What It Makes: SDN controller technology.

Why It's Cool: Tail-f Systems provides network service programmability products for both traditional and software-defined networks. Its Network Control System (NCS) allows customers, who now include telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom, to simplify the provisioning and control of network applications and services. NCS was selected as the SDN controller for this year's InteropNet network operations center and provides a unified interface for a range of network devices, including hardware-based, software-based, and Openflow-based varieties.


What It Makes: Network monitoring tools.

Why It's Cool: PathSolutions makes Network Performance Manager, a networking monitoring product that is not only a Best of Interop 2013 finalist but also an important component in the InteropNet network. Network Performance Manager offers total network visibility within 12 minutes of deployment, including performance monitoring of every interface on every device in the network and tools that diagnose the root cause of network problems and provide plain-English descriptions of the errors. This speed and accessibility could be a major selling point for more than a few companies. Engineers, after all, are at their best when they're solving problems, not searching for them.

Blue Jeans Network

What It Makes: Video collaboration tools.

Why It's Cool: The proliferation of enterprise mobility initiatives is one of IT's biggest ongoing stories. BlueJeans Networks, which will be participating in Interop's "Disruptive Trends in Enterprise Video" panel, sees collaboration as a big part of this trend. The company believes its video conferencing technology has the power to redefine the board room by bringing unified meeting experiences to a variety of endpoints, including both on-premises and mobile workers equipped with iPads and iPhones.


What It Makes: WAN optimization technologies.

Why It's Cool: Aryaka is best known for its WAN optimization controllers, technology that recently earned the company a spot in the Visionary Quadrant in Gartner's 2013 Magic Quadrant. The platform relies on a multi-segment architecture to accelerate cloud services. It uses a private network that connects multiple points of presence spread throughout the world, allowing customers to avoid deploying WAN Optimization hardware at each customer location. Aryaka has extended this underlying technology in additional directions, including application delivery tools that offer access to centralized resources both inside and outside the firewall.


What It Makes: Database software.

Why It's Cool: ScaleArc iDB is intended to simplify how databases are deployed and managed. The software enables instant scalability and higher availability for SQL databases with dynamic clusters, read-write splits, database load balancing and surge protection, and it also provides instant visibility into all database traffic. ScaleArc iDB is available for MySQL, SQL Server and Oracle.

Ipanema Technologies

What It Makes: Application performance optimization products.

Why It's Cool: Networks have to support more applications than ever, and Ipanema Technologies seeks to help businesses manage the load. The company's products go beyond WAN optimization and increased bandwidth, which are common solutions to the application problem, and instead adopt a more granular approach that provides insight at the application level. With such a precise scope, Ipanema hopes to gain an edge in guaranteeing the performance of business-critical applications.

Xpress Send

What It Makes: Network automation tools.

Why It's Cool: Xpress Send makes automation products that allow administrators to remotely execute jobs on all the computers they manage. The company's technology is available in both on-premises and cloud-based varieties, and on-the-go users can access the system at any time via a Web interface. Built on open-source technology to keep prices low, Xpress Send's products require no configuration changes to existing infrastructure, making it simple for customers to deploy them and immediately begin scheduling automated tasks.


What It Makes: Cloud servers.

Why It's Cool: nfina develops and manufactures cloud server products designed for mission-critical cloud applications. Although data center requirements have grown more demanding as more tasks are moved to the cloud, nfina maintains ease of use by offering a complete turnkey solution that includes both hardware and software for the server's cloud controller, hypervisor, SAN and backup. The servers are also built for scalability; adding memory, processing capacity, network speed, or disk space requires only a few mouse clicks, allowing users to upgrade VM resources in minutes.

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