Shining The Light On Technology Innovation

With that in mind, I've decided to use this Weblog to begin to highlight some of the folks I come into contact with that have furthered enlightened my own limited understanding of the state of technology. What follows us a small selection of people that I have personally talked to in the last three months that have helped me gain a greater understanding of the collective potential at hand for the channel. It's my intention to update this Weblog once a week with new additions, and thereby in some small way recognize some people who may--at least not yet--be getting enough credit for their efforts.

MICHAEL RUFFOLO: As the new CEO of a promising security startup called Liquid Machines, Ruffolo has an impressive resume. He's been the COO of Akamai, and executive vice president of sales and marketing at EMC, ran a division at Xerox and was a CIO at NCR. In short, Ruffolo has walked a mile in a lot of different shoes. Today he is trying to bring all that experience to bear on Liquid Machines, which provides a set of access rights tools for use within corporations. In a world increasingly dominated by Sarbanes-Oxley compliance issues, half the battle going forward is going to be just figuring out who has the right and the clearance to see what in a corporation. That makes Liquid Machine a very intriguing technology provider that may be at the very right place at the very right time.

PAT SELINGER: All interesting ideas are not the sole province of start-up companies. As the vice president of data management architecture and technology for IBM, Selinger is at the forefront of intermingling database and file system software that will be at the heart of future seamless computing models where any device or application can access data from anywhere at anytime. We've got miles to go before we get there, but Selinger has the patience to make it happen. After all, she was there at the dawn of the development of the relational database, but her most significant contributions appear to be still in front of her.

OZZY PAPIC: As the founder of Net Integration Technologies, he's a man on a mission. Under his guidance, this Canadian company has created a self-managing Linux distribution for the SMB market that already has many of the autonomic attributes that Microsoft and IBM continue to envision at some future unspecified date. Raised in Eastern Europe under a socialist government, Papic is a diehard capitalist with the drive needed to beat the big guys at their own game.

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TOUFIC BOUBEZ: He was around at the dawn of Web services during his tenure at IBM, where he authored one of the first white papers on the subject and served as the company's Chief Web Services Architect. Today he serves as CTO and founder of Layer7 Technologies, a startup company focused on managing the deployment of Web services through the use of policy management tools that have the potential to make the arcane science of integrating Web services accessible to anyone.

DR. MARK BRAUNSTEIN: As the CEO of Patient Care Technologies, Braunstein has become a vocal advocate for the use of tele-medicine systems in the home. An actual medical doctor, his company's offering we recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in helping patient's track their prescriptions. But that's only the beginning because doctors will be able to use the system to track blood pressure and other warning signals associated with the early stages of chronic diseases. Given the fact that the Baby Boomer generation is reaching an age where it will over tax our fragile healthcare system, in care home systems may very well be the next big thing in healthcare.

SATHVIK KRISHNAMURTHY: An affable fellow, Krishnamurthy may be riding the next tiger as the CEO of Voltage Security. Based on a new approach to encryption, Voltage Security product leverages common identifiers such as e-mail addresses to help simplify the overhead associated with encrypting communications. An alternative to PKI and Pretty Good Privacy, the Voltage approach gets the industry past the difficult challenges associated with managing certificates.

MICHAEL CORCORAN: As a vice president of Information Builders, Corcoran impresses by knowing his business extremely well. More importantly, IBI has two major product lines that are the two hottest selling categories in enterprise computing today: business intelligence and application integration. A canny business executive, Corcoran at IBI is driving some aggressive pricing strategies in the business intelligence space that could lead to a significant consolidation in this industry segment as rivals find it difficult to compete. But even without a significant market contraction, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance promises to make the intersection of business intelligence and middleware tools based on XML Web services a hot spot for years to come.

RASHID KHAN: As CEO of Ultimus, Khan has over 10 years of experience in the world of business process management. Today, business process integration has finally come into its own as a topic, but it remains a lot easier to say than do. Ultimus has a tool that automatically discovers and maps business processes, making it easier to drive integration projects. So while others are still trying figure out what the elephant looks like, Ultimus is already taking the industry to the next level of business process discovery. The important thing to remember here is that most organizations have no idea how and where their business processes are interconnected.

BOB FABBIO: Most of the network systems management tools in use today are from another pre-Web era. Built around arcane agent frameworks, those tools are going to have a difficult time remaining relevant in a modern age dominated by Web services and real-time computing. Vieo, started by a group of Tivoli refugees led by Fabbio who is CEO of Vieo and a founder of Tivoli, has taken a fresh approach to the problem that may ultimately put some teeth into service level agreements that today aren't worth the paper they are written on.

LEW CIRNE: The only thing more arcane than network and systems management is application management. As a founder and CTO of Wily Technology, Cirne has helped create a Java-centric system for managing distributed applications built on top of service-oriented architecturea (SOA). The challenge going forward is that as applications become more integrated, the ability for the aberrant behavior of one application to adversely affect another increases. Wily is working on a management system that promises to monitor and manage a wide array of distributed applications running across multiple application servers and databases.