Startup Cassatt Corp. has been quietly assembling a team of top business and technology minds to form a company focused on providing enterprise software and services to automate the operations and management of IT for on-demand computing.
The San Jose, Calif., company, which has been in stealth mode since its founding last year, plans to officially launch its product and business strategy this week.
Bill Coleman, a co-founder of BEA Systems Inc., saw an opportunity to attack this market and began recruiting former colleagues, including Rich Green, who passed up a job as top software executive at Sun Microsystems Inc. to work at Cassatt, and Rob Gingell, who recently left Sun as chief engineer to join Cassatt as chief technology officer.
Coleman also tapped people from BEA, Oracle Corp., IBM, Microsoft Corp., Novell Inc. and Cray Research Inc.
The focus of the company is to help enterprises scale out their systems using commodity technology—Intel Corp.-based machines and Windows and Linux operating systems—in a gridlike fashion. Experts say Coleman has hit a potential sweet spot that could be the beginning of a company that would dwarf BEA.
Cassatts strategy includes working with partners that will build solutions with Cassatt software. New strategic partners Ascential Software Corp., Engenious Inc., IBM, Informatica Corp. and Kx Systems Inc. are all delivering solutions based on Cassatt offerings.
Making it all work is Cassatts Collage software, which enables users to manage many servers like a single system by automating IT operations. Cassatt Collage dynamically allocates servers to respond to changing system demands, said Green, executive vice president of product development.
"We make the assumption that in order to succeed in moving to this market and accelerating adoption, we have to have a noninvasive solution," Green said. "So the implication of that is that all this stuff needs to run on well-known hardware and operating systems, such as Intel and Linux and Windows, with no modifications to the OSes or applications."
An early user of the technology, Mark Phillips, Battle Laboratory director at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University in Richmond, Va., said he sees Cassatts opportunity as "huge," and he predicted "its going to take the industry by surprise. Cassatt is about scale, and I dont think the industry is ready for this. So theyre doing it incrementally, which I think is smart."
Dave McAllister, Cassatts vice president of product management, said the company will release Version 3 of Collage this winter. (The software was launched as Version 2.)
"Version 3 extends the virtualization space of Version 2 to multiple-tiered environments and allows the ability for these tiers to be managed as if they were a single environment, while supporting availability and the agility to change on the fly the nature of what the system is doing."
Version 2 of Collage "is focused on a single-tier problem or a single application space," McAllister said.
Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst with IDC, in Framingham, Mass., said, "The virtual environment software competitive market, when taken as an aggregate, was a $4.3 billion market worldwide in 2003 and is expected to grow at a rate well over 19 percent through 2008."