To Rainfinity and beyond

Space travel is always dangerous, but the last thing one of Nasa’s shuttles needs is a computer failure. Rainfinity’s RAIN (Reliable Array of Independent Nodes) is an offshoot of the technology used by the US aeronautics agency to make sure such a failure never threatens a mission.


Company: Rainfinity

Main activity: Network assurance software

Founded: 1998

CEO: Olivier Helleboid

HQ: San Jose, California

Status: Privately held. Received more than $45 million from corporate and venture investors including Alloy Ventures, Carlyle Venture, Intel Capital, INVESCO Private Capital, New Enterprise Associate (NEA) and Spinner Asset Management.

Revenues: Undisclosed. Predicting profitability by the end of 2002.

Key competitors: Cisco, Citrix, Checkpoint, Cacheflow

Infoconomy comment: In a market of relatively small players, Rainfinity looks like it will be able to find a niche for itself within the next few years. However, it needs to prove to cash-starved IT departments that its products are not luxuries, while weathering off potential future competition from Cisco.


Created at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), RAIN monitors servers and hardware on a network. If anything fails or seems about to fail, RAIN puts an equivalent system in charge of the tasks that are at risk.

Rainfinity, spun off as an independent company from Caltech in 1998, offers two main products. RainAssure aims to ensure that ebusiness transactions continue during outages, but differentiates itself from other failover technologies by monitoring transaction as well as hardware status. When it redirects a transaction to an equivalent system, RainAssure informs servers of the transaction status so they can resume processing from the last point reached.

Alongside it, RainWall is a security product that ensures that firewalls are continually working. “Every site, every company has security devices to protect itself. If any one of them has a problem, it typically closes everything, so you have no traffic coming in or going out,” explains Rainfinity CEO Olivier Helleboid.

The software tools rely on organisations having duplicate hardware available for failover. RainAssure also requires training in which users demonstrate standard transactions so the system can learn to recognise these and monitor their status.

The company plans to branch out into other areas, including wireless networking assurance and load balancing. It has a partnership with Symantec to embed RainWall in the security software vendor’s virtual private network and firewall products.

Helleboid predicts Rainfinity will attain profitability by the end of 2002, as the company builds a stronger brand for itself and IT budgets thaw. Until then it must rely on organisations realising that infrastructure reliability is a necessity, not an option.

Avatar photo

Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

Related Topics