Interop inspires industry veterans and newcomers alike to put on display their most innovative products, hoping to catch the eye of network managers with IT problems to solve.

While established vendors splurge on big booths, some younger vendors set up shop in Interop's Start-up City to showcase their technologies and tools. This year the handful of residents ranged from newbies such as Blue Spinner to more familiar names such as open source router maker Vyatta.

Solera Networks president and CEO Steve Shillingford says this is his company's second stay in Start-up City because Interop draws target customers and peers with the best knowledge of this industry. "Interop offers us a chance to be a part of a lot of thought leadership in security, management and networking," he says.

Here are details on five residents of this year's Start-up City:

Company: Blue Spinner

Founded: 2008.
Headquarters: Phoenix
Management: Dutch Kaplan, president.
Product: Blue Spinner offers a Web-based incident management system to customers via a software-as-a-service delivery model. The company says its product includes built-in workflow, document control and change management features, and can be used as a help desk, incident tracking or customer service system, depending on the customer environment. The subscription service, also called Blue Spinner, has been used by a Fortune 500 company for the past two years and now the company is making it available to others. Pricing is based on a per-user basis.

Company: FastSoft

Founded: 2005
Headquarters: Pasadena, Calif.
Management: Steven Low, co-founder, chairman and CEO
Product: FastSoft's E-Series of Accelerators use the company's FastSCP technology to ensure components inherent in TCP don't slow down file transfers. The company employs a single-appliance model - meaning customers need only install an appliance on one end of a WAN connection - and FastSCP gets around TCP's packet loss limitations to reduce latency over wide areas. Company officials say the technology can speed transfers up to 30 times, depending on network connections. Pricing for the E-Series appliance starts at US$10,000.

Company: porttracker

Founded: 2007
Headquarters: Basingstoke, U.K.
Management: Julian Rigg, CEO
Product: Porttracker packages its network management software of the same name on a plug-and-play appliance that enables network managers to quickly track and report on what is connected to the network for troubleshooting, security and capacity planning purposes. The product builds a view of the switch-port inventory and is designed for companies with more than 1,000 ports to manage. Porttracker is available for sale, starting at about $10,000, through n3k Informatik Limited.

Company: Solera Networks
Founded: 2005
Headquarters: Linden, Utah
Management: Steve Shillingford, president and CEO
Product: The DS series Packet Capture Appliances conduct continuous deep-packet capture and stream-to-storage for 100-percent of network traffic collected. The device can capture, archive, filter and regenerate network traffic data at full-line rates and offers a play-back feature that enables network managers to analyse traffic for troubleshooting, security, compliance and other purposes. Pricing for DS series appliances starts at about $10,000.

Company: Vyatta
Founded: 2005
Headquarters: Belmont, Calif.
Management: Kelly Herrell, CEO
Product: Vyatta developed open source routing software based on Linux that competes with commercial offerings from Cisco. The software combines firewall, IPSec VPN, multi-link Point-to-Point Protocol and Border Gateway Protocol scaling. The Vyatta Communication Edition open source router is free of charge; Vyatta does charge a fee for support packages.