Most of Mr. Andreessen’s energy for the past seven years has been focused on Opsware, which he started with three other Netscape alums during the height of dot-com bullishness in 1999. It has been a wild ride, but there appears to be a payoff coming: Next week, Opsware, which now sells software to help big companies like General Electric Co. and Sallie Mae (formally known as SLM Corp.) automate functions in their massive corporate-data centers, has said it expects to report a quarterly revenue increase of more than 60% for its second quarter ended July 31 when compared with the same period last year. It also expects to break even in terms of profitability, excluding certain compensation and acquisition-related expenses.
As for Opsware’s new software focus, “as mundane as it sounds, it’s actually pretty important to a large enterprise IT shop,” says Stephen Elliot, a manager at market-research firm IDC. Companies use Opsware’s products to more efficiently install software patches, load servers with other software and distribute Web traffic, among other things. Mr. Elliot’s most recent analysis shows Opsware holding 17.1% of the “server-provisioning” software market, behind leader IBM. Mr. Elliot says Opsware likely gained more market share last year.