There seems to be an infinite number of companies selling technology to make other technologies work properly. Nicola Sanna had spent three years leading one such firm in Florida when he heard the top spot at a similar company in Northern Virginia was available.

"I looked at this technology and it was a technology that I could have used at my previous company to make it smarter. Intellectually it was a very exciting challenge," said Sanna, who landed the job in September and is now president and chief executive of Reston-based Netuitive Inc.

The company's software, originally developed by computer scientist Robert Jannarone, monitors the daily activity of large network servers. If an irregularity is detected, such as a big increase or decrease in speed -- an alert goes off to notify an information technology professional. The problem, Sanna said, is that irregular activity happens all the time.

"People monitoring those environments are getting thousands and thousands of alerts a day -- to the point where their pagers are always ringing," Sanna said. "The number one problem is too much data. It's called the Christmas tree problem: It's always lit up, and it's always red."

Netuitive's technology cuts down the number of alerts by learning which daily activities are normal for each server rather than applying the same standard to all the machines. This can cut the alarms to a number in the double digits per day, Sanna said.

The company has plenty of competition, including LanScan Software Inc., Fidelia Inc. and A1Tech Inc., but Sanna says Netuitive's technology differs by treating each server individually and predicting the eventual outcome of network errors.