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True North’s On-Demand Solution Ups the Ante
By John Hazard

Douglas Nassaur imagines many scenarios for using his company’s hosted solution.

“Try opening an e-mail with a file for a program you don’t own, renting the program for the day and installing it on your desktop in seconds, all while running Windows from your Mac at a Starbucks,” he spells out. “With our technology, you are no longer tied to a single PC, with the applications on that PC.”

Nassaur’s True North Technology Inc., a Duluth, Ga., VAR turned service provider, used Sun Microsystems technology to develop their patented Northstar Utility Computing Switch, similar to those used by telephone companies, to allow users to log in to a desktop and turn on and off applications at will from any PC with a browser. Their C-drive sits on a mainframe in one of True North’s seven data centers, where it is maintained, protected, updated and backed up continuously.

PointerClick here to read more about IBM extending Tivoli’s on-demand capabilities.

Nassaur’s vision is one of a complete hosted solution on-demand, where users have a menu of applications, from the routine (Microsoft Outlook and Adobe Acrobat Reader) to advanced (QuarkXPress and custom programs), that may be added instantly by subscription, for single use or indefinitely.

True North, said Nassaur, is a paring of the collective IT infrastructure, allowing users to share the cost of hardware, software and integration.

“You don’t own your telephone infrastructure; you don’t generate your own electricity, why would you want to build your own IT infrastructure?” Nassaur’s asks. “You don’t need to and it’s silly. Eighty percent of IT is the same at every home and business in the world. Even between your desktop and laptop. Why duplicate that across the board, when you can share that on our mainframe and turn it on and off when you need it.”

True North, which began offering the Northstar switches in January, provides the solution to ISPs to offer to their customers; resellers who make it available to business customers along with customized solutions; and through their own online program MyInternetPC.com that’s available to consumers and business users for $24.95 per PC per month.

For VARs and solution builders, True North provides a unique opportunity to sell a solution with very little overhead.

“We don’t intend to have a sales force of our own,” Nassaur said. “We don’t believe in duplication there either. So we intend the channel to market our product.”

Channel companies will likely be integral, Nassaur said, in offering value added solutions and customizations to Northstar for customers in vertical markets.

Next Page: Northstar advantages and uses vary.

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