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A startup led by Microsoft’s chairman is on track to earn $100 million

If you work for a huge corporation, chances are it has a bunch of huge applications that run the business and if they crash, or even if they burp, your company is in deep trouble.

For decades big companies have been using expensive network management tools like HP OpenView or IBM Tivoli, or CA Spectrum to watch such apps. Those products do a good job of watching the hardware that a company owns and diagnosing problems with that.

But in today’s modern data centers, IT pros are are increasingly turning to cloud computing to host at least some of their apps. It’s a trend called “hybrid” computing where the app lives in the data center some of the time, and moves the cloud some of the time, maybe to handle in a spike in seasonal usage, or other such reasons.

Enter Virtual Instruments, a started up founded in 2008. Its tech can watch an app, and the hardware that runs it, when it’s in a company’s datacenter, when it’s in a virtual machine (using the kind of software that VMware makes), and even when it leaves the data center and lives in the cloud. Better still, the app pays for itself because it helps a company buy exactly the right amount of hardware they need — not more, not less, says VI’s CEO John Thompson.

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