Groove Opens Door to Large Businesses

New centralized administration capabilities in Groove Networks Inc.'s peer-to-peer computing platform likely will make it more palatable to large enterprises

New centralized administration capabilities in Groove Networks Inc.s peer-to-peer computing platform likely will make it more palatable to large enterprises.

Groove 1.0, which began shipping last week, included Enterprise Network Services, a series of new features that enables IT managers to centrally control deployment of the software and enforce network security policies.

The platform is being piloted for use as an integration engine that will enable groups such as professional services companies and business-to-business trading partners to communicate and collaborate more efficiently.

In addition to the network services, the Beverly, Mass., startups software includes support for a wider range of firewalls than the preview version, reduced resource requirements, support for secure roles and permissions, and enhanced integration of Microsoft Corp.s Office and NetMeeting software.

But it is the network services that have captured the eye of developers working with Groove, such as Hugh Pyle, director of technology at Agora Professional Services Ltd.

"Grooves enterprise services mark a shift from their platform being an interesting toy to being something easily applicable in real-world business situations," said Pyle, in London. "Groove without enterprise management services would be a very difficult corporate sell, so these new facilities open the door."

The enhancements in the finalized version of Groove were enough to persuade Raytheon Co., of Lexington, Mass., to choose it for a pilot project fostering collaboration within the conglomerate.

"We were waiting for the commercial release of Groove 1.0 because prior to that it did not have the features that would make it deployable in a large business," said Saul Fisher, director of strategic initiatives at Raytheon.

Phil Stanhope, CEO of Componentry Solutions Inc., is impressed with the fact that Groove introduced applications that go along with the basic software. He sees Groove as a distributed applications platform that goes beyond simply connecting one client directly to another.

"Its not a magic pill," said Stanhope, in Newbury, Mass. "Its not a science project, rather ... its simply the best design point and collection of Internet and application development services ever assembled."