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Startup City: Apptio Helps Companies Cut IT Costs

On-demand software provides visibility into computing infrastructure, usage, and capacity.

The tougher the economy gets, the better things look for Apptio, a startup specializing in IT cost management. Apptio's software helps companies identify IT costs and gauge utilization of assets--servers, storage, PCs, applications--with an eye toward efficiency. Because it's offered as a service with templates to help customers get started, Apptio can begin identifying cost savings within a few weeks of deployment.

Under pressure to cut costs, yet with no decline in demand for IT resources, IT pros have to get a better handle on how they're spending money. Apptio helps companies optimize IT investments by providing visibility into computing infrastructure, usage, and capacity.

Apptio's cost management tools can be used to analyze server utilization, storage capacity, help-desk requests, and more. Such information can be used to charge business units for IT usage, consolidate servers, calculate the costs of PC upgrades, and plan for business expansion or contraction. Apptio has identified more than a dozen ways its service can be used to lower IT costs, including data center relocation, storage deduplication, and deferred upgrades.

In addition to cost management and modeling, Apptio provides benchmarking against internal and external metrics, so customers can compare their performance to industry averages.

Apptio's service is based on a multitenant architecture in which customers share servers. That's significant because Apptio derives much of its value from its ability to offer templates and "playbooks" (for servers, PCs, applications, etc.) that can be adopted by multiple customers, and its benchmarking capabilities are similarly leveraged by its shared-services approach. Users access Apptio via an easy-to-use Web interface, while an "inference engine" supports pattern-matching, modeling, and the other cost-optimization capabilities on the back end. Apptio pulls in data from BMC, CA, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Symantec, and other IT management platforms.

Despite being just over a year old, Apptio has deep roots in the technology industry. Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, both of whom worked with CEO Gupta at Opsware, are investors. Partners include Citrix and VMware and, in cloud services, Amazon.com and Skytap.

At a starting price of about $6,000 per month, Apptio isn't for small companies; it's aimed at midsize and large companies. IT cost management tools are available from a variety of vendors. For companies that need to take an ax to IT costs, Apptio is a way to get going quickly. --John Foley (jpfoley@techweb.com)

APPTIO

Headquarters: Bellevue, Wash.

Product: IT cost-optimization software offered as a service

Principals: Sunny Gupta, co-founder, president, and CEO; Kurt Shintaffer, co-founder and CFO

Investors: Greylock Partners, Madrona Venture Group, Shasta Ventures, Ignition Partners, and individual investors

Early Customers: Alaska Airlines, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, HomeStreet Bank

Background: Gupta and Shintaffer worked together at iConclude, a developer of IT automation software that was acquired by Opsware in 2007. Opsware, in turn, was acquired by Hewlett-Packard later that year.

Web site: www.apptio.com

Gupta brings visibility, and an ax, to costs

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