Ten Leading Open Source Innovators: Page 3

Posted February 21, 2007

Jeff Vance

Jeff Vance

(Page 3 of 10)

3. rPath

Location: Raleigh, NC

Product or Service: rPath’s solutions combine software applications with Linux and other open-source components to create virtual appliances.

Why it’s innovative: Virtualization is hot these days. “My watch is becoming more and more focused on virtualization,” said Gartner analyst George Weiss. Weiss pointed out that virtualization platforms like Xen serve as the foundations for future innovations.

Here’s one such future innovation. The early adopters of virtualization technology focused on server consolidation. rPath believes that the same approach can be used to create application-specific “software appliances.” Packaged with a pre-configured application and operating system, virtual appliances are easy to deploy, maintain, and update, while also promising to use hardware resources more flexibly and efficiently.

What’s their track record? Customers include Newbury Networks, Agami Systems, and Vindicia. rPath also received a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to create virtual machine images for deployment in grid environments such as the Open Science Grid.

Funding: On January 30, 2007, rPath closed a $9.1 million Series B round of venture financing from General Catalyst, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Wakefield Group, bringing total funding to $15.5 million.

What are the major obstacles to overcome? This space is in the land-grab phase. rPath does not compete directly with other major virtualization players like VMware and XenSource yet, but that could soon change. VMware has started offering virtual applications but is for the moment acting more like an aggregator than a supplier. Microsoft has also entered the virtualization game, and what their ultimate strategy will be is anyone’s guess. Direct competitors include Tall Maple Systems, Trigence and JumpBox.

Who’s on the management team? Billy Marshall, co-founder and CEO, previously served as Red Hat’s VP of North America sales. Erik Troan, co-founder and CTO, was formerly Red Hat’s VP of product engineering. Brett Adam, VP of product development, served as CTO and Vice President of Engineering for Versata before joining rPath.

Dave Cotton, VP of sales, was formerly regional VP of sales for Red Hat. Dave Welker, VP of finance, previously held management positions as VP of finance and operations at several North Carolina-based software companies; he also held management positions at KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, and Price Waterhouse.

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