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Deal Radar 2009: Sonoa Systems

Posted on Monday, May 11th 2009

Last year, I wrote a piece called SaaS Impact on IT Infrastructure as part of the Trend Radar 2008 series. In the last 16 months, SaaS has really taken off, with over 500 companies in the space. Concurrently, the operational complexity of managing SaaS in the enterprise has also escalated. Today’s Deal Radar looks at a company that addresses some of this complexity.

Sonoa Systems provides analytics, management and governance solutions for cloud services and APIs. Their technology helps customers understand who is using their service, who their best customers are, how they can protect sensitive data, whether they are in compliance and how they can enforce service-oriented architecture (SOA) policies and ensure scalability. This technology can enforce policy on any XML-based traffic at very high levels of scale and flexibility.

Chet Kapoor, founder and CEO, has spent 20 years in leadership positions in software and hardware companies. He was VP of Content Management and Search Products at IBM and VP/GM for the Integration Group of BEA Systems. In addition, he was CEO of Gluecode, an open source application server company acquired by IBM. Passionate about ‘the consumerization of enterprise IT’, Chet was also previously VP at webMethods and has held various positions at NeXT.

Sonoa was founded in 2005 and is based in Santa Clara, CA.  The company raised a $12 million Series A from Bay Partners and Norwest Venture Partners in May 2005; a $16 million Series B led by SAP, Juniper, and NetOne in October 2006; and a $10 million Series C led by Third Point Ventures as well as current investors Norwest Venture Partners, Bay Partners and SAP Ventures in June 2008. The money raised was used to expand customer acquisition activities.
 
Sonoa was founded with the belief that networks would become ‘service aware’ as the best way to handle many of the requirements around policy enforcement on traffic flow. Just as routers and ADCs covered many of the operational and mediation issues with Web traffic, networks would handle many of these issues with XML as the Web evolved to have much higher volumes of XML traffic due to cloud computing and mobile apps. SONOA is an acronym for “Service Oriented Network Oriented Architecture”

When Sonoa was founded, the early “XML appliance” market players were focused on XML security and firewall needs and on enforcing internal services security and acceleration. At the same time, cloud computing started to emerge and mashups, Amazon EC2, SaaS started taking off, making XML even more interesting as a way to tap into resources and mix and mash data from outside the firewall. With consumer companies and developers leading the way, many opportunities were created, but unique issues arose.

Sonoa’s goal is to address these issue by providing the visibility, management and governance required to make cloud services and APIs as robust, compliant and scalable as internal on-premise applications. Sonoa ServiceNet is deployed as a proxy between providers (API) and consumers (enterprise application or mashup), serving as a single point of control over service policy. It uses a network-router design that supports the high concurrency required by the cloud with extremely low latency. Unlike other solutions, it is configured and administered without writing code and available as on-premise software, a hardware appliance or a hosted cloud service. 

The company claims it is different because it has a huge focus on business-level analytics, giving clients a way to drive the business such that they leverage Web services and APIs. The technology is user-friendly and the deployment turnaround time is quick. 

The cloud computing market is expected to be over $100 billion. Sonoa believes its opportunity is around the edge of this market as an ‘enabling technology’ for companies that want to leverage cloud computing without getting burned on compliance, security and performance. Sonoa caters to enterprise providers, enterprise consumers, SaaS customers and media content syndication clients. 

The company started with XML appliances but soon began shipping the appliance on VMWare. This led to OEM arrangements with IBM. The company began to get traction with customers that expected the capability as a subscription-based cloud service or wanted to get started in a short time, without the issues of deploying software or hardware on-premise. The company believes this flexibility in deployment options as well as its ability to offer hybrid models has helped increase Sonoa’s business.   

The company declined to provide revenue details but currently has approximately 50 customers. These include JPMorganChase, Sterling, Pfizer, MTV Networks, Warner Music Group, Innotas, QuickArrow, mBlox, InfoNgen and Cast Iron. Sonoa also focuses on selling to the enterprise and is involved in several OEM deals, including one with IBM. On-premise appliances range from $40,000 to $80,000, with both on-premise and on-demand also available under subscription pricing. 

With the recession’s ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality driving businesses to rework costs and find new revenue, Sonoa has found it can meet the needs of enterprises opening up Web services to customers or partners who want to use cloud services and SaaS to reduce costs and increase time to market. 

Recommended Reading:
Forbes Column 08: Deconstructing the Cloud
Deal Radar 2008: Elastra
Deal Radar 2008: AmberPoint

This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2009


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Back in the days, I worked for a startup called ‘Peakstone’ which focused on the ‘scalability’ & ‘performance’ issue of web services, needless to say the idea was ahead of its time. Fast forward to today and Sonoa’s ServiceNet solution will seem like an indispensable service to the growing list of SaaS providers who need to prioritize incoming request based on various criteria.

Clearly the use of API to access services will only grow with the advent of the cloud based solutions and companies providing browser and network based performance stats will need to wake up and take note of Sonoa.

Rajeev Kutty Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 10:40 AM PT

Take a look at JaxView from Managed Methods. It is much more comprehensive and more cost effective than anything Sonoa has to offer in the Service management and security space

John B Monday, July 27, 2009 at 12:18 PM PT

An alternative to Sonoa

3scale is a leading provider of SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions empowering Internet-based companies to control and grow the distribution of their digital content/services via their Web services or APIs.

The unique Plug & Play nature of the 3scale platform, its flexibility as well as its scalability, make it a first-choice solution for companies looking for an agile and cost-effective Web Service/API management solution.

The architecture of the 3scale platform can be seen at: http://www.3scale.net/solutions/howitworks

3scale platform provides the following elements:
- Access control and management
- Monitoring and Analytics
- Developer/community portal
- Billing and Payments management

Regarding subscriptions to its services, 3scale currently offers 2 options to its customers:

1.Self-service standard plans that are easy to integrate and fast to deploy: they can be subscribed to through 3scale website; the month-by-month payments start running after a 30 days free trial period; customers can cancel at any time

or

2.On-demand plans: tailor-made solution to basically fit any specific needs and requirements; for heavy API traffic volumes

The different subscription plans available can be seen at: http://www.3scale.net/solutions/plans

3scale’s objective is to provide its customers with the best customer service and cost-effective solution empowering them to focus on their core business development and growth strategy instead of spending time and money on creating a services management infrastructure.

Guillaume Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 9:04 AM PT
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