Date: Monday , November 01, 1999
Aside from dominating the software industry and creating the richest person in the world, Microsoft Corporation does a phenomenal job of attracting independent software vendors (ISV’s). They do so, not only by their market presence, but also by giving ISV’s early access to application programming interfaces and sample codes, bringing them into design reviews and giving feedback on making accessibility to Microsoft’s platform better. Some of the big
Microsoft developers include BMC Software, Tivoli, Seagate and Entevo.
While Entevo works in the directory management field, the strength of Entevo is in making companys’ migration to Windows 2000 simple and seamless. Entevo began to focus on Windows 2000 technology as far back as three years ago.
“We want to make sure that when Windows 2000 ships, we will be the leader in providing value-added management solutions in a heterogenous environment,” says Prashanth Viswanath, co-founder and CTO (chief technology officer),
Whether systems management, network management, and client server applications use databases or cutting-edge e-commerce Internet applications, they all use some sort of a repository of information. These repositories, known as “network directories” in MIS parlance, include market leading directories such as Microsoft Active Directory, Novell NDS and Netscape Directory Server.
Network directory services are becoming a commodity in their own right. And rightfully
so, perhaps, especially when bundled with an operating system. Companies like Netscape, for example, offer a directory on a particular platform. Whether the directory is for UNIX or for the NT environment, Netscape offers
its solution like a software application, whereas others, like Microsoft or Novell, package it as an NOS (network operating system) — an operating system level service.
Management: An Emerging Market
A recent study conducted by the Burton Group, an analyst organization, concluded that most large organizations have over 150 directories to store and manage information. Today, with countless directory services available to manage
the volumes of information companies are facing the challenge of managing directories across multiple platforms and directory services.
One of the biggest problems that has happened in the last few years is large corporations have deployed directories as part of several different applications,” says Amir Hudda, co-founder and CEO of Entevo. “And those applications have come from different vendors. Now they have multiple, different types of directories in their organization.”
Right Place, Right
The directory management services category is a recent one in the software marketplace, and in it, six-year-old Entevo is making waves. The company was founded in 1993 by two engineers hailing from Pune, India: Amir Hudda and Prashanth Viswanath. They partnered with two others in Pune, one of whom is Entevo’s current Vice President of Engineering, Dr. Ashok Joshi,
known to some as the “father of super computing” in India. Hudda and Viswanath
take the credit for creating the network directory management services category. Before Entevo, the concept was virtually non-existent.
“We’ve been very fortunate in that being in the right place at the right time enabled us to create a whole new market opportunity around directory management,” says Viswanath.
We bring significant value to the table,” says Hudda. “Whether it’s an e-commerce application or a traditional client server network application, you’ve got to use some form of a directory. And once that information is published in that directory, managing the information becomes a much larger problem.
Entevo’s products help you solve these information management problems.”
Whereas a directory service is essentially a distributed and specialized database that organizes information about enterprises like users, groups, servers and computers, a directory management service is a solution that allows people to manage multiple platforms from different vendors in a single console.
In the late ’70s and early ’80s, people who pioneered directory services built their own directories. The problem, here, was the amount of time it took to implement and deploy a directory successfully,” says Viswanath. “So,
what people have been doing in the last 10 years or so, which is how long it has taken for the technology to mature, is to build simpler and simpler protocols to access and publish information to their directory.”
About four years ago, companies like Netscape, Microsoft, Novell and IBM subscribed to a standard called LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol) that garnered support from other industry partners. So, now those companies
all provide a directory service as part of an operating system. While these companies offer directory management tools to manage their own platforms, Entevo offers highly scalable, non-intrusive directory management solutions
to manage multiple platforms from different vendors. Thus, Entevo allows one change in one place at one time. No more having to enter or change data in multiple places.
Hudda and Viswanath go a long way back. From their college days, their plan was to build products in India and sell them worldwide. They actually went out and created a company in India that developed products for US companies,
with the intention of one day creating their own products for their own company in the US. So, they built the Indian organization first, built the product and technology and then went out to seek venture capital to deliver on their vision of building products in India that could be sold and supported in the US and around the world.
Hudda and Viswanath were in their mid-20s when they started Entevo as a two-man outfit in Arlington, Virginia. Viswanath had resigned from Microsoft where he worked as an engineer deploying enterprise solutions on Windows NT,
whereas Hudda had given up a job at a leading security management company.
Discovering that they had complementary skills and the acumen for managing software projects on the Microsoft Windows NT platform, Viswanath and Hudda decided to venture out as entrepreneurs. Today theirs is a 125-plus person
company (70 in India, mostly engineering; about 55 to 60 in the US, all sales, marketing and technical support; and about 2 in Europe), with a high-tech development center in Pune, a major industrial hub in the state of Maharasthra, India, where product development is carried out.
With these capabilities in mind, they forged ahead. Toward early ’97 they started
building directory management solutions. This move led to the creation of a brand new market category — directory management services. “We really are proud of this,” says Hudda. “We went out in May ’98 and said, ‘There needs to be a directory management category,’ and today analysts like the Gartner Group, Meta Group, IDC, Burton Group, have all accepted Directory
Management as a category — one that we established. ”
The Entevo Suitestyle
Once Entevo had a common object model and technical workforce in place, they started creating teams to build the package components. Entevo’s products can be used as a complete suite or as stand-alone solutions for specific
"You can actually manage a worldwide NT network and a worldwide Novell network through a single console with these products,” says Viswanath. “DirectAdmin gives you the NT functionality, and the NDS PLUS Pack gives you the NDS management capability.” The third product in the DirectManage suite has migration capabilities from NDS to NT and the other has underlying COM objects that are used by the other three products. Each product is useful
in itself, Viswanath maintains, as a user may write Web applications or Visual Basic applications using these objects to configure.
Entevo’s latest product, DirectMigrate 2000, is a comprehensive wizard-based solution that fully automates Windows 2000 migrations. The solution enables companies to adopt the migration strategy best suited to their business and technical requirements. According to the duo, DirectManage is going to be a mega-win for them. Entevo will not only help companies migrate to Windows 2000,but will also help effectively manage existing company directories.
“One of the biggest competitive advantages that we have is that we can manage other directory services such as Active Directory, Novell or any other directory,” Hudda says, “Operating systems vendors like Novell and Microsoft
provide the infrastructure, the plumbing. By combining manageability with being able to provide management consistency as operating systems evolve, as well as integrating multiple systems, we have a very compelling management
Traditionally,the Indian software industry has focused on providing development services
to non-Indian companies. Fortune 500 companies recognize they can go to India to get great quality software. And it’s good business for Indian companies because they make good money. But not many Indian companies have branched out to create products; Entevo was the first Indian company to create a product for the high-end enterprise market.
"I think we have established a unique and hopefully compelling trend, where Indians would be able to build products in India, from India and show that Indian software engineers are not primarily for being put in large corporations
to build software for other people — that they can build their own products much like any other US company and still meet enterprise standard needs,”says Hudda.
Perhaps their story will inspire scores of Indian software technologists all over the world to begin saying, with onfidence, “Our software is ‘Made in India.’”