Raritan aims for ‘Dominion’ over IT infrastructure

Raritan Computer Inc. of Somerset, N.J. has a mission to simplify IT services.

The company recently released Dominion KX101, a palm-sized, one-port, KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) over IP remote management device that claims to provide always-available access to servers. The product also facilitates moving and relocating servers. The Dominion KX101 has a switchless architecture that provides non-blocked access and BIOS-level control of servers from anywhere in the world through a Web browser.

Tom Swift, CEO of Raritan, said the high cost of maintaining and operating IT systems is a key market driver for his company.

Compliance issues with Sarbanes Oxley in the U.S. and PIPEDA in Canada also contribute to the huge operational issues in IT. “They must certify the results all because of Enron and the penalties are fairly draconian,” Swift said.

He added that hardware and software costs can be very expensive when they run on HP Openview, IBM Tivoli, CA Unicenter, or BMC Remedy. They are even harder to deploy and require lots of people to support it, Swift said.

“We found a hole in the middle and it’s a real opportunity to improve data centre process in the mid-market,” Swift said.

The Dominion KX101 solution supports both data centres branch office IT systems. However, unlike KVM switches, which have a limited number of channels to access many servers in a rack, the Dominion KX101 is able to provide access to its dedicated server. A larger number of Dominion KX101 units can be integrated into a single logical network through Raritan’s Command Center Secure Gateway, he said. The Dominion KX101 is US$859 per unit.

The market for KVM is roughly at a US$1 billion worldwide. It is growing at 25 per cent per year and more than half the market is in North America, Swift added.

Jerry Diakow, former founder of Oki Data Canada, and current Raritan Canada country sales manager said one of the company’s many goals last year was to establish roots in many geographies, including Canada.

The company opened an office in Mississauga, Ont. to better support the customer base 18 months ago, he said.”If that sounds dumb,” Swift said. “It is,” he added. For reasons beyond him, Raritan decided to service resellers and its Canadian customers via the U.S. “We left a lot of money on the table these past 18 years,” Swift said in reference to its absence in Canada. He said there is no excuse for it and the company will continue to put more resources into this country.

For example Raritan put a warranty support structure with a depot in Mississauga, which helps resellers get product faster. The company also inked a distribution deal with Tech Data Canada for inventory.

According to Diakow, having product available at Tech Data it removes the hassle resellers had of attaining product through the U.S. border.

The plan for 2006 is for Raritan to expand its VAR base. Currently, the subsidiary has 25 partners in Canada. Diakow said he is actively recruiting VARs in the Ottawa area and in Montreal for the Atlantic Provinces. Eventually he would like Raritan to expand out west. A national VAR is taking care of western customers for Raritan.

A three-tier reseller program is in place for these resellers once they are signed. Resellers in this program will get 30 per cent discounts in the silver tier, 35 per cent discounts in the gold tier and platinum partners enjoy 40 per cent discounts.

Resellers can qualify for these tiers based on revenue levels and how they support the end user base. Raritan would consider reseller expertise in custom troubleshooting, data centre design and installation, along with Microsoft and Unix certifications for command centre gateways and network operation centres an asset, Diakow said.

Also part of the VAR program will be co-op and marketing funds, sales and technical training, lead generation activities and an online price list.

“The value to VARs is margins. We have good margins. KVM can be a great part of a larger server sale,” Diakow said.

He added that with KVM the VAR can talk to a user about his company’s entire infrastructure. With that, the VAR can learn about that company’s IT environment and will be able to help them plan for the future. “The value of KVM is that I know what to sell today and tomorrow,” he said.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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