Interop
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5/24/2007
11:03 AM
Tom Smith
Tom Smith
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The Salesforce.com Effect Comes To Interop

In its 22-year history, the Interop trade show has been synonymous with networking, and this year's exhibitors are true to that heritage. But there's a recurring, software-oriented theme from many of the vendors I met with: the impact of Salesforce.com on the networking business.

In its 22-year history, the Interop trade show has been synonymous with networking, and this year's exhibitors are true to that heritage. But there's a recurring, software-oriented theme from many of the vendors I met with: the impact of Salesforce.com on the networking business.Most recent case in point: Exinda Networks, a manufacturer of WAN optimization systems (the kinds of systems that are in abundance at this event) that used the show to take a page from Salesforce.com's book. It's offering software to manage its appliances on a hosted, Salesforce-like model, and noting along the way how well the hosted model works, both for the customer and the vendor. Exinda can see the issue from both sides of the equation; as CEO Con Nikolouzakis notes in an interview, Exinda uses Salesforce.com "extensively" in its own organization.

Exinda calls its hosted management system Service Delivery Point. The software reports on key applications, performance measures and resource utilization, all via a Salesforce-borrowed interface that can be accessed from a Web browser, so an administrator can perform needed functions from literally anywhere an Internet connection is available. Customers can also license the software for internal hosting if that's their preference. Exinda's own pitch notes that the hosted model "eliminates the cost, risk and complexity of implementing a traditional centralized management system."

Nikolouzakis notes that from the vendor's perspective, hosting the software for customers offers big advantages. It lets the vendor immediately propagate software updates, patches and so on to customers, lowering the costs involved in supporting many different (i.e., old) versions of a given program. Time to market with new software is compressed significantly.

The hosted model may not be right for everyone; Nikolouzakis notes it doesn't work for customers with particularly weighty security concerns. But he expects strong interest from his 1,000-strong customer base.

Exinda's hosted Service Delivery Point costs $30 per appliance per month for a 10-appliance license (companies typically have one appliance per office or location). Purchasing an SDP appliance and software to host internally starts at $5,000 for a 10-appliance license.

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