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Start-ups offer cool tools to ease IT's pain

Sandra Gittlen | Feb. 16, 2011
If you want to know what IT tools and technologies you'll be using in a few years, it pays to keep an eye on enterprise technology start-ups.

At a glance

Company: Apptio

Enterprise product: TBM Solution Suite

Pricing: Starts at $100,000 per year, depending on the number of users and modules deployed.

Funded by: Andreesen Horowitz, Cisco Systems (CSCO), Greylock Partners, Madrona Venture Group and Shasta Ventures.

Gupta says that the Starbucks (SBUX) coffee chain started using the TBM and discovered that the laptops it had deployed to cut desktop expenses were actually costing more because of battery replacements and support issues. Armed with this information, the company was able to change its warranties and help desk strategies to extract the savings it had initially anticipated.

Mark Gibbs, CEO of Gibbs Universal Industries (GUI), a consultancy in Ventura, Calif., and a Network World columnist, says that as the data center becomes more complex, "IT resource tracking is as important as ever." Using SaaS offers benefits such as easily deployed add-ons and instant feature updates based on requests and what-ifs that other companies use, he says.

However, he warns that IT teams must test how data gets into and out of these hosted systems to ensure that they interoperate smoothly with the tools that will feed data into them, and that the information used is accurate in real time.

Cloud storage and backup for Web apps: Backupify

Under strict scrutiny to make data recoverable and secure, IT is faced with an ever-growing challenge: controlling all the data that users generate in Web applications such as e-mail, social media sites, and document-sharing and collaboration tools.

Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Lauren Whitehouse calls this issue the "Achilles' heel" for most organizations in this era of third-party hosted applications and cloud storage. "When IT owns and operates applications, they are responsible to make sure that the application and data are available, which includes employing backup/recovery processes and other high-availability technology. Now that more organizations are outsourcing applications, the issue of downtime and data loss is getting exposed," she says.

At a glance

Company: Backupify

Enterprise product:Backupify Pro 500

Pricing: Starts at $19.99 per month for 10 users; additional users are $3 per month each. Includes both a social media account backup module and Google (GOOG) Apps domain backup.

Funded by: Avalon Ventures, First Round Capital, General Catalyst, Lowercase Capital, Betaworks and several individual investors.

This is particularly a concern, she says, because many online service providers don't have well-defined service-level agreements. Whitehouse calls services like Backupify "an insurance policy."


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