During this podcast, Bill Detwiler speaks with Joel Bomgar about his company's appliance-based remote support solution—the Bomgar Box. Bomgar explains the advantages (easier deployment, better security, lower TCO, increased uptime, client OS flexibility, and more efficient product development) his product has over the competition.
Few technologies have improved IT's ability to support a distributed workforce like remote support utilities. I've worked in enterprise environments with and without remote support tools, and I can attest to the dramatic improvement these tools can bring to the support process. Not having to constantly ask a caller "what's on the screen now" really saves time.
These days, IT organizations have lots of remote support options. Microsoft has built tools like remote Desktop and Remote Assistance into Windows. There are software solutions like the open-source TightVNC. And, there are software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions like Crossloop or LogMeIn. Even providers of desktop management solutions, like Altiris (Symantec), provide remote control capabilities.
While each of these solutions has particular strengths and weaknesses, they are all either fully software-based or rely on the software-as-a-service model—where the tool's provider serves as a go-between for the traffic between connected machines.
One company that's taking a different approach is the Bomgar Corporation. Bomgar offers an appliance-based solution for remote support. I spoke with Joel Bomgar, CEO and founder of Bomgar Corporation, in July 2008.
Why is Bomgar's appliance better than software or SaaS?
I began our conversation by asking Bomgar why his company is going with an appliance-based solution, called the Bomgar Box, when just about everyone else uses a software-only or software-as-a-service solution. "We choose the appliance because it is the best hybrid deployment model," said Bomgar. According to Bomgar, the complexities of deploying traditional software-based solutions gave rise to the SaaS solutions. But, with SasS came added costs and security concerns—as network traffic is routed through the vendor's system when a connection is made. (Several TechRepublic members raised this concern in the discussion thread attached to my IT Dojo video review of CrossLoop.)
Bomgar believes their appliance-based solution offers several advantages over software-only or SaaS solutions, such as:
- Easier deployment
- Hardened security
- Lower TCO
- More uptime
- Client OS flexibility (Windows, Windows Mobile, Mac, and Linux)
- More efficient product development
"It's [an appliance-based solution] what's best for our customers, best for the market, and seems to be the only deployment model that addresses all of the components that come into play in a customer's buying decision," said Bomgar. He talked about each benefit during the interview.
Solutions for every size organization
The Bomgar Box comes in three sizes configurations. The B100 is designed for individuals or small IT shops. It supports a single concurrent support representative and pricing starts at $1,988. The B200 is a 1U appliance designed for the mid-size IT departments, and it supports up 20 concurrent support representatives. Each representative can have multiple simultaneous sessions and the number of sessions is only limited by the representative's bandwidth. Pricing for the B200 starts at $1,995 for the hardware and $1,995 for each representative license (up to 20). For enterprise IT organizations, Bomgar offers the B300. This 1U appliance can support up to 300 concurrent support representatives. Pricing for the B300 starts at $9,995 for the appliance and $2,995 for each concurrent license.
Stay tuned for TechRepublic's test of the B100 and B200
After my interview with Bomgar, I decided that I must give the B100 and B200 test drives. Look for our review of each unit in the coming weeks. If Bomgar gives us the green light, we may even feature the Bomgar Boxes in our Cracking Open series.
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Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.