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Thursday, June 07, 2007

HIgh-level Evaluation Criteria for Non-Windows, VMware and network monitoring solutions

With the announcement of the purchase of Engyro, Maarten from confirmed that the Engyro MPs were in fact pulled from the market. This put a crimp in the non-WIndows story for more than one person I am sure.

On the VMware front, we have spent quite a bit of time with nWorks VMVware monitoring. nWorks has a slight advantages from a data collection perspective over their competitors it appears, which I'll speak more about in later posts. Jalasoft will almost certainly provide the broadest range of coverage with the best integration, but to their credit, eXc has a very low price point, along with responsible and knowledgeable support in our experience. SecureVantage has owned the security market where MOM is concerned, but Enterprise Certified arrived on the scene in recent months, offering some choice.

But how do I choose the appropriate solution for my environment?

Solution criteria will obviously vary by the target service or device and your environmental specifics. However, I think we can make some high-level generalizations here. When comparing non-WIndows monitoring solutions, some high-level key evaluation criteria should like include some of the following:

  1. Intelligent defaults in threshold rule settings and alert severities. Nobody likes to install a product only to find it's completely worthless without days or weeks of tuning. Alerts should be easily interpreted by humans.
  2. Product knowledge integrated in the solution display through alerts. Good event, alert, perf, state and diagram views are a plus as well
  3. An architecture - one that is
    1. Extensible - Allows customization and development where possible (APIs are good)
    2. Un-coupled from the management server if feasible. Use of a proxy agent is preferable. Engyro had that concept in well in hand (sigh...)
    3. Scalable - very few providers provide documented scalability numbers that I have seen.
    4. Intelligent in its data collection choices - efficient and rich data collection is a must. A solution is only as good as the data is collects - the richest dataset from the most economicle source or sources for a given target is important.
  4. Virtualization friendly - Components should run within a VM without issue - and with a low footprint.
  5. Integration - A minimum of configuration outside the Operations Console is a nice to have....but not always possible I know.
  6. Automation - Deployment and configuration of multiple nodes should require a minimal amount duplication. (I would point to Jalasoft's forthcoming IO release as evidence of a vendor listening to customers on this count).
  7. Reporting - This has less weight than it once did, given the generic reporting libraries in Ops Mgr 2007. The exception here would be specialty solutions, like security and regulatory compliance reporting (SecureVantage clearly understands this).
  8. Good Documentation - Poor documentation hints at poor preparation. 
  9. Support - Staff who are both knowledgeable and responsive. Many vendors in the Ops Mgr ISV space score well here.
  10. Fair Licensing Model - Licensing should be easy to navigate, and shouldn't make me feel like I am paying for Ops Mgr all over again. This is especially true today, as we're all simply bridging a 2-3 year gap until the arrival of MOMv4.

What do you consider when selecting 3rd party solutions to augment OpsMgr functionality? Community, MS, ISV - Let me hear your insights into the topic. Comments can be left on this post directly, or I can be reached via the contact form on my blog @

Comments on "HIgh-level Evaluation Criteria for Non-Windows, VMware and network monitoring solutions"


Stefan Stranger said ... (1:07 AM) : 

Hi Pete,
Great arcticle about criteria for Non-Windows, VMware and network monitoring solutions. Another criteria I try to use when selecting a Third-party solution is if there is one vendor with all the needed solutions. That way you don't have to learn all the different products needed for monitoring. Jalasoft is one of those vendors who have quite a lot of solutions for different products.

Stefan Stranger


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