Tech Industry

Pervasive aims app server at small firms

Pervasive Software thinks it has found a niche in the crowded application server market: selling to small and medium-sized businesses.

Faced with stiff competition from the likes of Sun, IBM, and Oracle, Pervasive Software thinks it has found a niche in the crowded application server market: selling to small and medium-sized businesses.

While the industry heavyweights go after business from the larger companies, Pervasive will instead compete with Allaire's ColdFusion in the smaller markets.

The company--which spun out from Novell five years ago--has integrated its newly-purchased application server into its Tango Web development suite, which includes a Web authoring tool, the company's Pervasive.SQL database management system, and the Apache Web server.

Pervasive in October purchased the application server from Everyware Development for $10.75 milllion.

Analyst Jeetu Patel, of Doculabs, said Pervasive has a good chance to thrive, mainly because its Tango product is so easy to use. The company originally tried to go after the high-end market and compete with the larger vendors. But it soon realized its technology was better suited for smaller companies, whose staff might not know object-oriented programming, he said.

Like Allaire, Pervasive's technology allows developers to build applications and deploy an application server without needing to know Java, Corba, C, or C++, Patel said. "They can do it with a tag-based, HTML approach. That's the big value and it's great for small to medium-sized businesses. The amount of expertise required is a much lower level than the Netscape Application Server or SilverStream's."

Pervasive's application server is ideal for e-commerce Web sites with low to medium traffic, Patel said. The company's application server can't handle high traffic sites, like eTrade. "If you need an application in two months, these guys can do it for you," he said. "But the downside is it's not for Chase Manhattan or Bank of America to standardize their infrastructure on."

Patel, however, said Allaire--who has been in the market longer--is the current leader in the small to midsized market.

In hopes of trumping up the number of customers, Pervasive is offering its Tango 3.5 Web development suite for free until May. It includes a one-user application server for developers to use and test.