Mark Hinkle, VP of Business & Community Development at Zenoss reached out to bring me up to speed on Zenoss.

Zenoss provides software for network, server and application management. Zenoss Core is a community offering licensed under the GPLv2. Customers can purchase support around Zenoss Core, or purchase Zenoss Enterprise Edition, available under a commercial license. Zenoss also has specialized offerings for xSPs that need to manage hundreds/thousands of clients.

Zenoss announced the following news today:

  • Added 32 new paying enterprise customers in 1Q08
  • Counts over 100 paying enterprise customers including SugarCRM, Rackspace, Disney, Georgia Tech & Instinet
  • Over 3,500 active deployments (i.e. potential future paying customers)
  • Establishing a development center in Austin, Texas…virtually the Mecca of IT management software development

I asked Mark to speak a little about their competition. Mark stated that Hyperic and Zenoss are complimentary. Hyperic is able to dive deep into the application and server stack, while Zenoss delivers a heterogeneous, broader, view of the IT environment. And while GroundWork and Zenoss offer competing capabilities, there is enough interest in open source IT management products that they are both growing.

Then Mark talked a little about OSS & closed-source IT management vendors meeting up at Barcamp. Mark said (near quote):

“…everyone realized that it’s not practical to say we are going to ‘replace HP or BMC’. So, we started thinking about how OSS products could compliment closed-source products that are widely used today.”

I really like the approach of complimenting current products. It demonstrates that the OSS vendors in question are spending time and resources adding value versus “fighting the good fight against closed-source software”. Customers aren’t about to rip-and-replace anytime soon. The future of IT will be found in a mixture of both the closed-source and OSS product and business models.

The more I hear about OSS vendors with a GPL’d community product and a commercially licensed enterprise product, the more I’m convinced of this inevitability…almost as others are convinced that SaaS and/or a support business model is the inevitable end game for the software market. Time will tell…