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Startup City: PacketTrap Networks

PacketTrap Networks provides network monitoring software for midsize companies.

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PacketTrap Networks offers network management and traffic analysis software for midsize companies. Founder Steve Goodman says IT pros at midsize companies struggle to stay on top of network performance problems. Business traffic has to wrestle with music and streaming video from the Web. The company's software helps IT monitor and remediate traffic spikes. It's also pushing strongly into the managed service provider market.
--Andrew Conry-Murray

PACKETTRAP NETWORKS


Steve Goodman, founder and CEO

Goodman goes for network visibility

HEADQUARTERS: San Francisco

PRODUCTS: Perspective, pt360 Tool Suite, MSP, ptFlow

PRINCIPALS: Steve Goodman, founder and CEO; Sal Sferlazza, CTO

INVESTORS: August Capital, angel investors

EARLY CUSTOMERS: Boeing, Chevron, CNN

BACKGROUND: Founder and CEO Goodman comes from SonicWall, a maker of security and networking gear for small and midsize businesses. He joined SonicWall when the company acquired his previous startup, Lasso Logic.

WEB SITE:www.packettrap.com


New Opportunities
PacketTrap sells directly to customers, but it also aims at value-added resellers that are transforming into service providers. "VARs have moved from reselling equipment into more service offerings, where they manage a customer's infrastructure from their own location," says Goodman. The company is tapping into this market with PacketTrap MSP, which lets VARs offer network monitoring to small businesses that want to outsource IT functions to a partner. MSP is available as on-premises software or software as a service.

How It Works
PacketTrap's pt360 Tool Suite performs basic diagnostic functions such as port scans and lets engineers troubleshoot network issues.

Perspective is a full-scale network management product that provides real-time monitoring of switches, routers, servers (both physical and virtual), and applications. PacketTrap MSP provides the capabilities of Perspective but is aimed at VARs.

The company also offers Traffic Publisher, which provides granular analysis of network traffic by using flow records. Flow records, which are generated by switches and routers, show the hosts, applications, and traffic sources on the network.

Many routers don't support the main flow protocols--NetFlow, J-Flow, and sFlow--which makes it harder for IT to identify the hosts and applications generating the most traffic on the network. Traffic Publisher extracts flow information from network devices that don't support the protocols, transforms it to the NetFlow format, and feeds it to PacketTrap's monitoring software. It also works with monitoring tools from its competitors.

Our Take
PacketTrap's chief competitors are SolarWinds and Ipswitch, both of which are well-established vendors with popular product lines. That said, it already has amassed several thousand paying customers, no mean feat for a 3-year-old company.

The company is smart to go after VARs looking to resell network services because PacketTrap opens itself to a much larger market. At the same time, the Traffic Publisher software provides a crucial differentiator from its major competitors.

Timeline

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