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July 15, 1998

COBALT PLANS MORE APPLICATION-SPECIFIC SERVERS

By CBR Staff Writer

Hard on the heels of yesterday’s RaQ and CacheQube announcements (CI No 3,452), Mark Orr, VP and co-founder of Cobalt Networks Inc, has promised still more application-specific solutions from the company famous for its chic blue case. Cobalt, which changed its name from Cobalt Microserver earlier this month to stress its focus on the net, is a pioneer in driving commercial applications for open source software. Its products use Linux, sendmail and Apache. For most of the markets we’re serving people who don’t really care what’s under the hood, says Orr, adding that the ability to look into source code and tweak it for performance has been a positive asset to Cobalt. Will enterprises balk at the prospect of all that hacker software? The answer will be largely driven by what kinds of products we offer people, Orr maintains. CacheQube, for example, offers a solution to the thorny problem of managing network hot-spots. That’s best done, not by a general-purpose OS, but by one that has been tweaked and tuned for the specific hardware, Orr points out, the same is true for other kinds of devices. Open source software lends itself to performance tuning, and the market for single-purpose devices tuned to optimal performance is growing. Orr argues that this is becoming more generally recognized in the industry, pointing to Cisco Systems Inc churning out turnkey packages for use as firewalls and routers. Since Cobalt now has web publishing and cacheing covered, it’s no surprise to find that Orr expects: lots more application-specific products coming down the line.

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