Toronto firm brings autonomics to the branch office

Toronto-based networking vendor Net Integration Technologies is venturing into the autonomic computing market, but with a twist: the technology will be solely positioned in the small business space and branch automation markets.


to Malcolm Etchells, vice-president of overseas sales and customer service for Net Integration, the company is working closely with IBM and its autonomic research lab.

“They want to do autonomic computing on large enterprise systems, and that is a big challenge. There are more servers and high complexity. And, I can tell you that autonomic computing is not there for the enterprise, but in SMB we can apply it in a sensible way,” he said.

Etchells believes IBM will solve its problems in autonomic computing for multi-servers. However, Net Integration will add autonomic components such as back up on one server.

“It minimizes the complexity and it has benefits to small business,” he added.

Net Integration is offering Nitix, a Linux-based server operating system that can do networking, file and storage, security, and a platform for open source application. IDC Canada has the Linux server market in Canada at growth rate more than 36 per cent from last year.

Net Integration also uses the open source community to develop these applications for customers. These applications can also be used by company partners, Etchells said. For example, partners can nominate an application on its Web site. The partner can also retrieve a previously submitted application from the Web site’s software repository.

After testing, if the program works they can re-submit back to Web site so that everyone else can run it and know how it is configured. “We are using the open source mentality here,” Etchells said.

With commercial vendors, Net Integration works with ISVs. The company wants them to become fully Nitix certified.

The Nitix market for Net Integration partners is strictly focused on the under 1,000 user companies or branch offices that do not have an enterprise environment.

“Let’s say there is an attack on the firewall. Nitix shuts down automatically and the software monitors the port and after the attack opens the port automatically. There is no admin needed, and it is good for SMB because they have no time and little IT resources,” Etchells said.

Net Integration currently has a reseller base of more than 2,000, who are registered with the company.

Margin off Nitix is between 25 to 30 per cent, but in some cases more, Etchells said.

“Some ISVs see Microsoft as its main competitor and pitch themselves (with Net Integration) as an alternative. They (customers) may find Linux such as Red Hat and Suse too complex,” he said. But Etchells is positioning its partner base two ways. One area will be recruitment and training of new partners to sell Nitix, while the other partners will be asked to grow the amount of open source applications.

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