P2P Goes Corporate: Groove To Roll Out Servers

Groove Networks has learned that IT departments still want these things called "servers."

Groove Networks has learned that IT departments still want these things called "servers."

Until now, the Beverly, Mass., company - founded in 1997 by Ray Ozzie, the creator of Lotus Developments Notes - has sold only peer-to-peer collaboration software, which lets users PCs communicate directly with each other. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, Groove will launch its first line of servers, a concession to enterprises that require centralized control of network services.

In addition, Groove will roll out a new version of its client software, and the company is expected to announce that Dell Computer has bought 10,000 licenses. Grooves other major customer is pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

Groove is introducing three servers, each of which is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2002. The Groove Enterprise Integration Server hosts "bots" that let databases, transaction servers and other centralized systems interact with Groove users. The Groove Relay Server acts as a private version of the public Groove network services, allowing, for example, users to work offline and traverse firewalls. The Groove Enterprise Management Server will provide management features such as user and directory management and reporting.

Meanwhile, the new Groove 1.3 client software provides some integration with Microsoft Office applications. For example, it allows users to share Word documents for real-time viewing and editing. Other improvements include better performance and interface elements, according to the company.

Earlier this month, Microsoft invested $51 million in Groove, representing a minority stake. Other prior Groove investors include Accel Partners, Intel Capital and private individuals.

Grooves subscription-pricing model is perhaps an indication of where Microsoft itself is headed for its .Net-based services. The Groove 1.3 client software license is $49 per user; access to Grooves network is $96 per user for the first year, and $48 per user for each subsequent year.