GroundWork Open Source Breaks Ground On New Channel Partner Program

Open Source

The San Francisco startup's GroundWork Monitor Professional platform is an open-source offering that delivers network management and monitoring on par with the likes of IBM Tivoli, Hewlett-Packard's OpenView, BMC Software's Patrol and CA's Unicenter, but at a much lower price, said Tony Barbagallo, vice president of product management and marketing. GroundWork Monitor Professional is MSP-ready, making it an ideal alternative to MSP platforms from vendors such as Kaseya, Cittio, SilverBack Technologies and N-able Technologies, he said.

Announced earlier this month, GroundWork's Global Partner Network program puts the vendors' money where its mouth is, allocating a hefty pile of cash for partner field development. It also has set aside MDFs to be immediately dispersed to partners, Barbagallo said. For the time being, GroundWork also is waiving the program's $15,000 sign-up fee, which the vendor believes it will recoup after new partners close their first three dealsdeal the vendor plans to help partners land, Barbagallo said. "For these new partners, we'll help them find deals in their area."

GroundWork Monitor Professional bundles free, open-source software into a single GUI, Barbagallo said. In the blend is monitoring software from Nagios, network usage software from Network Weathermap, discovery tools from Cacti, reporting tools from RRDtool, a protocol analyzer from NTOP, and NeDI, an open-source tool that can execute backups and restore crashed networks. Most recently, tools from Ganglia, an open-source monitoring package optimized for server clusters and grid computing networks, have been added to the mix, he said.

The result is an extremely customizable platform, said Somshankar Das, president and CEO of e4e, an MSP and utility computing outsourcer in Santa Clara, Calif., that uses GroundWork. "Customers are tired of the one-size-fits-all, Big Four approach to IT operations management," said Das, referring to IBM, HP, BMC and CA.

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GroundWork provides the server-based software suite, then tackles all support and upgrade scenarios for a flat fee of $16,000 a year. The value proposition is substantial, given the fact that many open-source tools are managed not through GUIs but through command-line interfaces, Barbagallo said. GroundWork saves VARs that hassle by normalizing all of the data from the various open-source tools, dumping the data into a SQL database, then piping it all into a intuitive GUI, he said.

Novacoast, an IT services provider in Santa Barbara, Calif., with a national network in 14 states, was brought in as an early participant in the GroundWork Global Partner Network. Novacoast, which does not offer managed services, has been selling GroundWork for about a year, implementing the platform on-site in customer networks, said Adam Gray, CTO at the company. If you factor in the upfront costs and long-term maintenance costs of IT management platforms from the Big Four vendors, GroundWork is a far less expensive proposition with just as many features, he said.

"Besides, most enterprises have already accepted the fact that open source will be a major part of their organization," Gray said.