Zenoss: Open Source Infiltrates Large Service Providers?

Zenoss: Open Source Infiltrates Large Service Providers?

Zenoss, which makes open source server and network monitoring software, has a message for service providers: The company's software has successfully landed in major accounts ranging from Computer Sciences Corp. to Verizon. Here are some details -- plus, some clues about where Zenoss may be heading with Cisco Systems Inc.

First, a little background. Zenoss promotes two platforms:

  • Zenoss Core: a free open source IT operations monitoring product.
  • Zenoss Enterprise: A subscription-based product that incorporates and extends the Zenoss Core product with Enterprise-only features for highly-virtualized enterprises.
Olivier Thierry (Chief Marketing Officer) and Brian Riley (VP Global Alliances) described several Zenoss business milestones to me earlier today. Among the anecdotes Thierry and Riley shared:
  • Zenoss generated roughly 150% year-over-year revenue growth in 2009 vs. 2008;
  • the Zenoss customer base grew roughly 40% in 2009 vs. 2008
  • for every $1 customers initially spent with Zenoss, the same customer typically spent an additional 40 cents in order to expand their use of Zenoss;
  • major service providers and consulting firms embracing Zenoss include Accenture, CSC, Perot and Verizon; and
  • VMware itself uses Zenoss to manage virtualized data centers.
"If you look at where we play, it's typically within global IT service providers," asserts Riley.

In some ways, Zenoss insiders are singing a familiar tune -- positioning the company as a low cost but scalable alternative to the Big 4 (BMC, CA, HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli).

Both Groundwork Open Source and Nimsoft have made similar claims over the past year or so. But CA's recent buyout of Nimsoft creates more opportunity for Zenoss to disrupt the Big 4, asserts Thierry.

Reality Check

Despite the anecdotes above it's important to keep some qualifiers in mind. Generally speaking, it's difficult for MSPmentor to measure the true health of open source companies like Zenoss because they're privately held -- so net income figures and cash flow figures generally aren't available for analysis.

Also, Zenoss really isn't a traditional channel company. Although roughly 50% of the company's business involves service providers, most of the revenue involves the service provider as a customer -- rather than the service provider being a true reseller of Zenoss.

Still, the anecdotes above certainly caught my attention. And MSPmentor will be watching to see if Zenoss can continue to gain traction with more large service providers.

Next Up: Cisco Moves

Longer term, watch for Zenoss to announce some work within the Cisco Unified Computing System, which has key implications for the network, storage, server and virtualization markets. I think it's safe to say Zenoss will potentially make some UCS moves in time for Cisco Live, scheduled for June 27-July 1 in Las Vegas.

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