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SUSE Appliance Program Spells Success for Third-Party Software Vendor



By: jdrosenberg

December 22, 2010 12:08 pm

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Guest Post by Brett Waldman, Analyst, IDC

Recently, IDC completed a Customer Spotlight for Novell highlighting GroundWork Open Source, Inc., a leading U.S. commercial open source based IT management and network monitoring software firm.

GroundWork wanted to expand its market and customer base, as well as grow market share in an segment that it could not profitably sell or support with its existing sales and pricing models. GroundWork initially tried to develop a downloadable solution and even a software appliance using an unsupported version of Linux. However, both of these solutions were technically problematic and did not help to increase sales as the company had hoped.

Then GroundWork came across SUSE Studio from Novell, which made the process of creating and managing software appliances much easier. So easy in fact that the first prototype was created by their marketing director! Here is what GroundWork discovered in its deployment process:

  • Deployment was completed within one week using only half of a person’s time over that period.
  • After viewing a 45-minute demo of the product, GroundWork engineers required no further training and could use the product out of the box.
  • The first prototype was created in a single day by GroundWork’s senior director of product marketing.
  • The company sold 100 of its virtual appliances in the first 96 days on the market despite the fact that it launched the sales campaign in December — traditionally a bad time for a product launch.

And some of the benefits that GroundWork has achieved include:

  • Ability to build, market, and support the company’s custom software appliances more quickly and inexpensively than ever anticipated.
  • Easier evaluation, purchase, and use of GroundWork monitoring appliances for customers due to lower price, uncomplicated setup, and quick download time.
  • Increased savings as a result of less time and effort for the company to build and release its software appliances.
  • Reduction of Test and QA time from 4 man months to 1 week.
  • Shortened Installation time for Enterprise Quickstart software appliance-which now takes only 15 minutes as the downloadable software is 74% smaller than GroundWork Monitor Enterprise Edition.

The process was not without normal challenges, including fine-tuning the product for GroundWork’s use and memory constraints; however, the results for Groundwork have been overwhelmingly positive.

The success GroundWork is seeing with its software appliance product and the SUSE Appliance Program is not surprising given a recent IDC survey, which found that the acquisition, integration, and installation of traditional software accounted for approximately 80% of the total cost of that software. IDC also expects that the total software appliance market will grow to over $3.7 billion by 2014, which translates into a 60% compound annual growth rate over five years.

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Categories: Appliances, Expert Views, SUSE Studio

Disclaimer: As with everything else at SUSE Conversations, this content is definitely not supported by SUSE (so don't even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up).  It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.

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