Aussie networking start up opens its gear to US

Australian start up Opengear is out to woo system administrators and network managers at this week's LinuxWorld conference in Boston, showcasing networking products developed in its Brisbane lab.

At last week's LinuxWorld expo in Sydney, Opengear pre-released two open source solutions -- the SDTConnector software tool and the new CM4001 console server. This week the products get presented to the world.

The CM4000 product line targets system administrators and network managers who are controlling Linux, Windows and Sun servers and routers/firewalls in small or large data centres, said Bob Waldie, chairman at Opengear.

The newly released CM4001 runs an embedded Linux (uClinux) kernel. It remotely manages one serial and 10 LAN connected systems and is priced at $445 plus GST. The CM4148, with 48 serial and 50 LAN system connections, is priced at $2195 plus GST.

SDTConnector is 100 percent open source, Waldie said. It is a Windows and Java wizard that helps configuring SSH connections to tunnel other services securely across the Internet. These include Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol, open source VNC (UltraVNC, TightVNC, RealVNC), HTTP and Telnet.

At the same time as releasing the SDTConnector, Opengear also kicked off a new Sourceforge project.

As a result of its presence at LinuxWorld Sydney, Opengear already has developers from another company - who saw it at the expo - contributing to this new project.

Opengear competes with companies such as Digi International, Raritan and Cyclades. The latter two were also at last week's Sydney LinuxWorld expo. Raritan showcased several products including the CommandCenter NOC 250 and CommandCenter NOC 250.

The products monitor corporate networks. Built on an embedded Linux OS, and incorporating OpenNMS to identify devices on a network, and Snort, to sniff packets, the NOC products are designed give administrators a top-down view of an organization's network.

Opening up

Opengear's founders and developers have been open source and embedded Linux players since inception.

"We set the Opengear company up some 18 months with a business plan based on building both open source software and open source hardware platforms - and so far it is going and growing well," Waldie said.

The company has an interesting set up. It is a US entity, but is an Australian company with its developers housed in its i.Lab office in Brisbane, said Waldie, whose previous ventures include Snapgear, Moreton Bay Ventures and Stallion.

"The executives all are Australian and we manage the business from Brisbane."

Of the shareholders, 82 percent are Australian with 18 percent held by a group of venture capitalists from the East Coast of the US, who provided some seed funding.

"So the wealth we create will remain here in Australia."

Although based in Australia, 90 percent of its sales are international with more than 50 percent in the US, then Germany Japan and China.

"Opengear is an engineering (not marketeering) company and we have a very technical sales/value proposition, so we target technical audiences (and most LW conference attendees are technoid)," he said.

At this stage the company has only a small channel in the US, with most of its sales being to university campuses "as system administrators at universities want best value/technical solution and they are less risk averse (using a product from new start up equals risk).

The rest of the world (Europe, Asia, South America) is managed from Brisbane.

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