Will small businesses adopt the cloud for their networking needs?
Pertino, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based startup, bets that the answer is yes by kicking off a limited release of the company's namesake platform. And according to Todd Krautkremer, Pertino's vice president of marketing, today marks an important milestone for the company's part in advancing the "democratization of the IT movement for small businesses."
Describing Pertino as "cloud networking services that let customers build a secure cloud-based network in minutes," Krautkremer told Small Business Computing that Pertino is "an incredible set of technologies that are massively disruptive." With his company's technology, small businesses can "leverage the cloud itself and build a network across cloud data centers," he added.
The results can be game-changing.
Like larger enterprises, small businesses have to contend with big-business networking challenges such as providing distributed workforces and mobile users with secure access to company data. The problem is that most small businesses typically lack the expertise and budget to deploy and manage a suitable networking infrastructure.
SDN for SMBs
Pertino solves this by using an enterprise-grade technology that's currently all the buzz in enterprise networking circles and taking hold in data centers: software defined networking (SDN). As its name implies, SDN takes functionality that was once hardwired into routers and switches and "appifies" it, turning it into software that can be run on configurable systems.
This strategy allows organizations to be more flexible, agile and more responsive to the packet-moving needs of IT organizations. It lets network operators prioritize traffic, block certain types of traffic and otherwise exert very specific levels of control, all in software.
For Pertino, SDN lets the company deliver advanced network services that don't require a big IT department. Small businesses can offer local area network (LAN)-like access to mobile users, secure file sharing and remote desktop capabilities.
However in Krautkremer's view, one of SDN's most compelling uses is the capability to establish instant networks. A team traveling for a conference, for example, doesn't have to cobble together cloud services or use a virtual private network (VPN) to communicate and collaborate. It allows "pop-up networks" that you can shutter as quickly and easily as you can establish them, said Krautkremer.
And Pertino cloud networks are quick to configure, added Krautkremer. "Nearly anyone can build a small business network in minutes," he said.
Community Tested, SMB Admin Approved
To ensure that his company's technology does what it claims, Pertino enlisted the help of the SMB IT specialist community at Spiceworks. In October, the company launched a beta and let Spiceworks members put Pertino's cloud through its paces.
Today's launch speaks to the success of the beta, said Krautkremer. During the course of the project, he reported having "more than 250 customers beta-testing our product." The feedback that the startup gleaned from the process allowed Pertino to "rapidly iterate the product," he added.
The Pertino Limited Release starts today. It currently supports Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Later this quarter, the company plans to kick off a beta for Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Mac OS-X systems. Plans call for mobile support to come online later this year.
Pricing for the Pertino Professional plan is $10 per month per member. A free Personal plan covers up to three members with three devices each.
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