Someday the technology sector will prosper again, and by the time that happens, Response Networks Inc. hopes to have weeded out the pretenders in the hosted applications niche.
With its Pulsar xSP software debuting this summer, said Ivan Shefrin, co-founder of the North Andover, Mass., company, Response will have software to sell to application infrastructure providers, which will resell it as a service. The goal is to help ASPs (application service providers) and their enterprise customers learn whos to blame when a hosted service chain breaks—not just to find out what broke, Shefrin said.
"The ASP needs to be responsible for [service-level agreements], but the infrastructure hes using to deliver that application belongs to half a dozen organizations that he doesnt control," he said. Because SLAs are usually based on availability, not performance, he said, "usually the punishment doesnt fit the crime because the SLA refund isnt equivalent to the amount of business lost."
For now, Pulsar xSP is being beta tested by Cisco Systems Inc., the San Jose, Calif., networking equipment giant. Cisco is also a Response business partner and minority investor.
"So far, its meeting all expectations. Were going to need to deliver response-time credibility," Cisco representative Richard Steranka said. Ciscos Internet Communications Software Group is testing Pulsar with other products from Cisco and third-party vendors, possibly as a precursor to an upcoming service announcement, officials said. Other areas that SLA testing tools will need to address will be billing, provisioning and single-sign-on applications, Steranka said.
Shefrin said a portal for such features is on Pulsars road map, along with a real-time packet monitoring feature. The future also holds wireless alerts, compatibility with network monitoring suites from BMC Software Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., and alliances with systems integrators. Through standards such as Extensible Markup Language and Sun Microsystems Inc.s Jini protocol, Pulsar will be able to link with operations service system layers, he said.
Pulsar xSP will cost $50,000 to $100,000 to implement, plus monthly fees starting at $2,000, Shefrin said.