Open Source Apps Take to the Web

Monday Nov 14th 2005 by Dan Muse
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iRadeon, a provider of on-demand open source software, today announced the iRadeon Dashboard. The new service is designed to provide a single point of access and control to multiple low-cost applications. Plus, Jamcracker looks to unite Web-based apps.

Looking to allow small businesses to tap two of the biggest trends in software, iRadeon today announced the iRadeon Dashboard. The new Web-based service is designed to let smaller companies take advantage of both the growing number of open source business applications and the increasing popularity of the software-as-a-service model (i.e., applications delivered online by either a Web-based software vendor or a service provider).

In September, iRadeon announced a hosted version of SugarCRM, a popular open source application for managing customer relationships. The new dashboard takes the approach a step further and the company will now provide access to project management, learning management and knowledgebase software.

The dashboard is designed to eliminate the complexities of running open source applications by providing what Jeff Minich, the company's vice president of strategy, describes as a "Webtop" environment. "You access multiple open source applications from a single access point," he said.

This approach exists for proprietary on-demand applications, Minich said, referring to offerings from companies such as Salesforce.com and NetSuite, "why not for open source applications?" The benefit for small business is the applications cost a fraction of what you'd pay for proprietary software services. "Open source allows us to be 90 percent less expensive [than Salesforce.com and Netsuite]," Minich said.

The iRadeon Dashboard offers single sign-on acess and centralized administration for supported applications, meaning you don't need to remember multiple passwords for multiple applications. Also, Minich said, you administer user access from one central console. This will become more important as iRadeon adds more applications to its iRadeon Application Delivery System (iRADS). "We're looking to add 40 or 50 of the best open source applications over time," Minich said. "Think of it as Salesforce.com's AppExchange for open source."

In addition to single login, user-management tools and one-click access to applications, the dashboard also includes integrated search of both titles and text content of all Word and .PDF documents stored across multiple repositories; a personalized view of upcoming calendar items, projects and tasks; a unified view of common data; inter-office chat; and configurable Web Links.

iRADs has "everything you'd expect" in terms of an infrastructure for delivering online applications, Minich said. For example, it offers the following:

  • Auto deployment system, which is designed to make applications accessible within about 10 minutes via a Web browser.
  • Firewall protection
  • SSL encryption for secure data transfer between client browsers and iRadeon servers
  • Redundant backup protection (i.e., automatically configures backup protection, securely storing 15 days of incremental data for client applications)
  • Caching and acceleration enhances Web application performance by deploying PHPAccelerator, a PHP caching and performance enhancement solution.

The iRadeon Dashboard will be available on November 28 starting at $45 per month for five people. Pricing for 25 seats will be $6 per person per month, Minch said.

Jamcracker Announces Software Services Network
In other software-as-a-service news, Jamcracker today announced its Jamcracker Services Delivery Network (JSDN). The on-demand platform is designed help independent software vendors (ISVs), software-as-a-service vendors and channel providers aggregate, tailor and deliver Web-based software for small and mid-sized businesses that don't have access to a catalog of on-demand services.

"The growth of on-demand Services has been impressive, but to make the market explode, the channel must be enabled. The Jamcracker Service Delivery Network will go a long way to make this happen," said K.B. Chandrasekhar, CEO of Jamcracker.

Charter members of the Jamcracker Services Delivery Network include the following software/service providers:

Aztec Software, Bankers Code, Bell Solutions, Culminis, Exchange My Mail, Inforonics, Intellireach, Kontiki, Navisite, OMS Safeharbor, OpenAir, OpSource, Progress Software, Salesnet, Securusnet, ServePath, Spikesource, StrikeIron, Symphoniq, UNIFY Corp., VeriCenter, Vinciti and VIPTone.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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