Net Integration banks on autonomic Linux

Net Integration Technologies Inc. of Markham, Ont., is the classic dot-com bubble-company that just did not explode or implode like everyone else.

The company has made it this far mainly because it actually had something to sell, a line of servers running AMD Althon processors.


Integration had a couple of other things the other bubble companies did not: A target market in small to medium sized businesses, a 100 per cent channel strategy and the company made an early bet on autonomic computing, which is paying off today.

Autonomic computing enables hardware to become a self-healing network.

IBM may have coined the phrase “”autonomic computing,”” said Dan Wensley, North American sales director for Net Integration, but his company started delivering autonomic computing back in 2000.

“There is less maintenance costs involved for small businesses that are looking for thin client networking to work like a PBX phone system that does not have any down time,” he said.

Net Integration’s line up of Mark I, II, IIIR (rack mountable) and Lite servers will be one of the first in Canada to have an operating system that is an autonomic Linux-based system targeted at small business.

The second generation of the Mark line will contain groupware called ExchangeIt! for collaboration. “It’s a product solution that the channel can now use as a Linux alternative to Microsoft Exchange,” Wensley said.

Currently, Net Integration has more than 1,000 North American resellers and back in 2000 they had 20. According to Wensley, in the past 13 months the company only had 200 resellers.

“The market is shrinking and there are a lot of VARs out there converging. Today, VARs have a willingness to adopt new technology, whereas in the past they had a jaded view of new technology,” he added.

The company has a direct to VAR program that pays 20 per cent margins off the hardware with four per cent MDF funds, a 30-day refund policy, and unlimited sales support. Wensley said that margins can increase to 30 to 35 per cent with additional services. Ingram Micro and Tech Data, Wensley said have approached Net Integration about partnering with them, but the company is undecided about joining a distributor.

“We have a 100 per cent channel strategy out to end users and we are committed to the success of partners. We promote them and give them the tools and resources they require to do business with us,” he said.

All Net Integrators are equipped with artificial intelligence that helps IT managers or resellers reduce the amount of time needed to deploy these servers in typical small business of less than 100 employees.

The units also have what the company calls SystemER (Emergency Recovery), a disaster recovery technology that detects simple hardware failures and overcomes them in two-minutes flat.

The Net Integration servers start at US$2,000 for the low end Lite unit and US$3,000 midrange Mark I and US$5,000 for high range Mark II and rack mountable Mark IIIR is a US$9,000 solution.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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