In September, 2009 Top 10 Finalist Vineyard Networks was profiled on Network World in an article titled Start-up offers net management Fisher-Price style.

Well, they’re at it again this month and have been named a Top 10 IT Management Startup to Watch by the same publication. Here is what Network World had to say:

Company: Vineyard Networks

Founded: May 2009

Headquarters: Kelowna, British Columbia

Focus: NetCore on Demand is offered via subscription and delivered as a SaaS application, in part. The offering includes an application-aware probe called NetView, which is installed on the customer site. Vineyard configures the NetView hardware probe to monitor the environment and then deliver to customers an interface called NetCore via a secure SSL connection. NetCore on Demand monitors WAN and LAN connections, Layer 7 service information, application traffic and Cisco’s NetFlow data.

Why it’s worth watching: Vineyard Networks is taking advantage of the trend for management vendors to package their products as SaaS as well as easy-to-deploy hardware devices. This hybrid approach will help IT managers use more sophisticated technology to monitor their environment, without having to be responsible for the care and feeding of complex management applications, industry watchers say.

“SaaS with management software has to take this hybrid approach in which the main functionality and user interface is on the vendor side, with several hooks into the environment on the customer premise,” says Glenn O’Donnell, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. “IT management customers have been telling vendors ‘simplify this, make the purchase process and economic impact simpler’ and vendors have responded with virtual appliances or SaaS offerings, which are ways for the vendors to do all the integration and hide the complexity of the technology so customers don’t have to worry about it.”

Vineyard, in particular, offers an interesting value proposition, EMA’s Frey says.

“Network-based performance management using Cisco NetFlow data but also delivered in a remote hosted model can work really well,” he adds. “There has never been a need for less network management, but now vendors like Vineyard are trying to help companies use these advanced technologies in a more efficient way and lower the learning curve so they can see the value sooner.”

How company got its start: The founders wanted to create what many before them have also attempted: easy, inexpensive network monitoring and management technology for IT managers that couldn’t devote money, time and energy to complex software that promised to help them better run their networks.

How company got its name: Named after an aspect of its local landscape in Canada: wine vineyards.

CEO: Jason Richards previously worked in operations and sales at Packeteer and prior to that, he held a senior position in engineering with Workfire Technologies, a British Columbia start-up that focused on Internet acceleration technologies.

Funding: Through a combination of angel investors, government research assistance grants, and the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT). Currently Vineyard has raised more than $1.6 million in operating capital.

Who’s using the product: Customers include Pushor Mitchell, ECC and ASCI.

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