ntop is a small, engineering-driven company, debt-free with low fixed costs, with many customers (most of which are individuals and small companies, but some key players in networking embed our software in their products), profitable in business for more than 10 years. This means that we’re potentially immune to take-overs, market decline and bankruptcy if the key customer disappears (simply because we’re lucky enough not to have a key customer). We develop high-quality networking software used by small individuals as well by large telecom operators, mostly open-source, free for no-profit/research, and provide direct support at reasonable prices. We operate our computers using the green energy (photovoltaics) we produce, our staff is geographically distributed in Europe, we mostly work from our SOHO going to the office only when necessary, this as we see a value in working close to our families and serving remote customers at night when all offices would be closed. All our software and technology is home-grown and thus independent from third-party companies, our prices are transparent and stable over time, we have full control on what we produce. Our aim is to continue operating ntop with these principles for the years to come, and not to become a sales-driven company where profit is (mostly) the only driving force, while steady growing in both revenues and staff like we have done for the past years. We like and believe in what we do, and how we do it. We expect to be here for the years to come, when you will need us.
When it all Started
ntop started as an open source project in 1998 whose goal was to create a simple yet effective web-based traffic monitoring platform. Many things have changed since then, including the nature of the traffic being analyzed, operating systems running on PCs, and the type of users. ntop changed too and from a single-project centric effort, we evolved into a full fledged research company whose goal is still the original one. Namely innovate in network monitoring using commodity hardware and open-source operating systems. As we benefit from the open-source community, we feel obliged to return to the community what we develop, so that many others, and not just us, can benefit too.
Education, No-Profit and Free Software
One of the decisions we have made from day one, is to give for free (not just a discount, but completely at no cost) our commercial software applications to universities, schools, research, no-profit and all those individuals who do not fall in these categories but that for various reasons (e.g. lost their job and are back to study for improving the skill while searching for a new one) want to use our software but cannot afford to buy it. This is our best investment: culture.
Why is ntop Different?
The industry is full of hardware companies who bundle their products with open-source products, just to offer a sale argument for their products. Or software companies who depend on other (either hardware or software companies) for running their applications. ntop does not belong to any of these categories. We are not hardware-vendor dependent, and our software does not rely on third-party companies who might impose high license fee or decide to send us (and thus our users) out of business. We are developing both software that better exploit commodity hardware (so we’re not vendor locked) and that runs on the operating system kernel, and monitoring applications. We control the whole lifecycle, optimize every single bit, and provide you support for all our components, as we have developed them and nobody knows them better than us. This is quite rare on this market, and thus we have the ability to optimize the software for the hardware we use, and create better products. Very few other companies such as Ferrari, Ducati or Apple can do that (we’re small but we believe we belong to this club).
This is why people say: ntop means open-source from the source.
As we enjoy great advantages from inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others
by any invention of ours. And this we should do freely and generously.