IT Management's Next Wave: AppDynamics, Boundary, New Relic

The next IT management and monitoring wave is building fast -- and on full display at Amazon's AWS re:invent 2014 conference in Las Vegas. It involves venture-backed companies like AppDynamics, Boundary, JumpCoudNew Relic, LogicMonitor -- each of which focuses on cloud, web and application management and optimization. Here's how I.T. entrepreneurs can ride the new wave.

The market shift goes something like this: IT management companies spent the 1990s and early 2000s building applications to monitor and optimize network infrastructure and servers -- switches, routers, Windows, Linux, etc. But as the cloud wave built, businesses of all sizes launched customer-facing applications. Suddenly, consumers and business partners were demanding better performance from those applications and cloud services.

Here Come the Pioneers

Enter companies like AppDynamics, Boundary, JumpCloud and New Relic. During a recent podcast with After Nines Inc., AppDynamics CEO Jyoti Bansal described his company's focus on application intelligence -- the next generation of application performance management and more. He also touched on how AppDynamics is leveraging $100 million in venture funding on the path to a potential IPO. 

Meanwhile, New Relic -- also focused on application performance management -- has raised more than $200 million and has now filed for a potential IPO. Instead of positioning itself in the "IT management" market -- which includes aging giants like CA Technologies, BMC, HP and IBM -- New Relic promotes its "software analytics" expertise. The idea is to offer "complete performance visibility for all aspects of your software environment."

No doubt, software environments are becoming more complex as companies begin to mix-and-match on-premises applications with cloud services. That's where companies like Boundary enter the picture. At the AWS re:invent 2014 conference, Boundary has launched a detailed monitoring service for AWS resources. The offering allows customers to "monitor across AWS and hybrid environments." Boundary CEO Gary Read is set to call me later today with more details.

You've Got to Pivot

Leaders like Boundary CEO Gary Read and JumpCloud CEO Rajat Bhargava (podcast here) personify the massive pivot I.T. entrepreneurs need to make amid the shift from on-premises IT management to cloud management.

Read previously built, led and sold Nimsoft to CA Technologies for about $350 million. He built Nimsoft into one of the strongest remote monitoring and management platforms available for midmarket enterprises and services providers. Instead of repeating that formula at Boundary, he plotted a direct route to cloud monitoring. And I suspect he's got another surprise up his sleeve. I suspect it involves Big Data... but that's all I can say at the moment because it's just a hunch.

Similarly, Rajat Bhargava has done his own pivot. He has launched and/or led roughly eight IT companies, jumping from one wave to the next. His latest business, JumpCloud, started out as a server monitoring platform -- for on-premises or cloud systems. But JumpCloud recently did a dramatic pivot -- focusing on directory-as-a-service in the cloud. The idea is to help Microsoft customers gain the benefits of Active Directory as applications move to the cloud. But JumpCloud does even more, acting like a directory super set, Bhargava asserts.

Where You Fit In

I.T. entrepreneurs can catch this new IT management wave from several directions. You could potentially leverage the emerging platforms listed above to build and optimize your own applications. Or, you can use the platforms above to manage customer applications.

But most of all, you need to study the emerging monetization models. Over and over again, Boundary seems to be putting a new spin on freemium. And all of the players seem to be signaling a stark reality: Public clouds really are the new data center. The sooner you accept that reality, the faster you can manage and monetize your path forward.

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