Open Source Console Servers: Opengear goes well and emphasises Channel Importance

Opengear, a leading provider of next-generation console server solutions, yesterday announced its record order bookings, largely due to its (open source) channel, according to a report.

Opengear generating 75 percent of its revenue via partners, recently has put in place a very aggressive partnering program offering channel partners 25% margins, to further speed out-of-band management solutions sales.

Todd Rychecky, VP of Sales at Opengear, told me more about the company, and how power management and an open source approach to console servers has helped Opengear achieve record sale.

Todd, how everything started?

The “Opengear” name came about when were originally planning the new venture back in 2004. The founders (Bob Waldie and Tony Merenda) were active developers and supporters of the uClinux open source initiative, a popular open source platform in the embedded space and we decided our new business would develop solution in the changing infrastructure management space.

Our original plan was to develop open platforms and extend the “open source” model by opening up the hardware platform as well as the software. So we set out developing an open source console management software platform that could run on any Linux/Unix/Solaris hardware and also developed an open KVM hardware design. At this stage we spawned the okvm.sourceforge.net project and named ourselves “Opengear” which we though new and appropriate.

How do you participate to open source projects?

In the nagios space we recently developed and released SDT 4 Nagios. Now nagios is a great tool for centrally monitoring of all the computers, software and services in complex and dispersed network. SDT 4 Nagios is an addon to nagios which gives sysadmins point-n-click secure SSH tunneled access to the remote hosts across the network. It is fully open source (sdt.sf.net) and we are extending it now to work with the open source Groundwork Monitor program which is also Nagios based.

In the NUT space we dialog and work actively with the core development team in Europe to extend the coverage – we are not the core developer here but we are actively contributing to efforts spawned in the NUT2.4 where NUT now manages PDUs and well as UPSs (example, we are testing new releases and adding SNMP PDUs from an array of vendors to the NUT tree – again all open source).

Opengear plays in the second stage of community open source engagement. They know that open source is a two-way street and are active citizens, even if they are not engaged in the coordination of some inter-projects collaborations, as GroundWork does. Maybe collaborating with GroundWork will help in this respect, all in all both companies’ business heavily rely on the ability to fastly integrate new open source packages.

How is the business going, and how open source is key to company’s success?

In the 4th quarter of 2008 we added (43) new customers and (10) new resellers.  Our success was largely driven by providing our customers innovative open source tools to manage their remote infrastructure and  providing out-of-band access to UPS/PDU systems as well as Environmental Monitoring.  In addition, we are seeing system integrators in the government marketspace developing plans to launch open source alternatives to the proprietary infrastructure solutions on the market today.

The console Server market has a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 14%, and is about a $250 million market today. Opengear is a serious challenger for players like Avocent, Raritan, MRV, Digi, Lantronix, Perl Systems, and its ability to keep its products updated taking advantage of open source pace of innovation is key.

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