Klir takes community approach to IT management

An alternative to mainstream vendors such as BMC and CA has been launched

Inspired by the communal wisdom generated on sites like Wikipedia.com, Klir Technologies has launched an IT management product intended for system administrators at small and medium-sized businesses.

Klir Analytics 3.0 beta allows IT users to publish and share their own favourite fixes, using a software-as-a-service business model. Over time, the most successful software will garner the best ratings, just as the most popular photographs get top billing at Flickr.com, says James Maiocco, Klir’s chief executive.

Seattle-based Klir hopes to gain users at organisations that are too small for the Fortune 2000 list. It is targeting companies too small to be able to afford software from traditional providers in the IT management field, such as BMC, CA, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, he says.

Maiocco is betting that IT managers at small companies would rather get a customised service, picking their own products with a buffet-meal approach enabled by Web 2.0 technologies. Using a distributed work model is also more efficient than centralised call centres, since 50% of helpdesk calls relate to bugs that have already been addressed by patches and release notes, he says.

Fewer than 500 people use Klir Analytics 3.0 today, but Klir began distributing a free, entry-level version in August, hoping to enlist 1,000 users and push their results into statistical relevance. Once that happens, the company will roll out quantitative benchmarking of IT products and services, based on users’ reports on applications, bandwidth, networks and servers.

Dell launched a similar product in June with its Platinum Plus IT services offering, a dashboard that uses maps from Google Earth to let IT managers track problems and compare their results with other companies. However, Dell’s product is for companies with at least 100 servers, while Klir Analytics subscriptions start at the ten-device level.

A closer rival could be Splunk, a San Francisco company backed by CA whose software lets system administrators search through data on applications, devices and services, then share their troubleshooting advice in a community wiki.

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