Comparative Analysis of IT Monitoring Tools

5,596 views

Published on

Free report and analysis on common IT monitoring tools

Published in: Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
5,596
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
17
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
268
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Comparative Analysis of IT Monitoring Tools

  1. 1. Comparative Analysis of IT Monitoring Tools Review of IT monitoring platforms from CA Technologies, SolarWinds, IBM, and Nagios The following analysis compares strengths and weaknesses of CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.1 and the new CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 to trial IT monitoring tools versions from IBM, SolarWinds, and Nagios. Apprize360 Intelligence, INC. June 26, 2014 A Special Report Commissioned for CA Technologies, Inc.
  2. 2. 2 | P a g e Table of Contents Overview and Summary.....................................................................................................................3 Study Methodology ...........................................................................................................................3 Enhancements from Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.1 to 7.5.....................................................................4 CA Nimsoft Monitor V7.5 Configuration and Installation Process.........................................................5 Comparative Benchmark Results ........................................................................................................6 CA Nimsoft Monitor vs. SolarWinds ..........................................................................................................................7 CA Nimsoft Monitor vs. Nagios XI .............................................................................................................................7 CA Nimsoft Monitor vs. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring ...............................................................................................8 Remote Monitoring Considerations for Distributed Environments.......................................................9 Assessment of Specific Testing Scenarios..........................................................................................11 Monitoring Configuration........................................................................................................................................12 Out-of-the-box Unified Dashboards ........................................................................................................................13 SLA Reporting ..........................................................................................................................................................15 Ease of Use for Alarms, Dashboards, & Reporting ..................................................................................................16 Summary and Conclusions................................................................................................................18 Figure 4: Total Time-to-Monitor..............................................................................................................................18 Table 4: Comparative Summary - Total Time-to-Monitor .......................................................................................19 Appendix A: Tables ..........................................................................................................................20 Table 5: CA vs. SolarWinds ......................................................................................................................................20 Table 6: CA vs. IBM & Nagios ..................................................................................................................................22 Table 7: Response to Testing Scenarios...................................................................................................................24 Product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Apprize360, LLC disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of such information and shall have no liability for errors, omissions, or inadequacies in such information. This publication consists of the opinions of Apprize360’s research organization and should not be construed as presenting statements of fact. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.
  3. 3. 3 | P a g e Overview and Summary CA Nimsoft Monitor is a unified IT monitoring and management solution that offers deep monitoring functionality within a single, unified architecture. CA Technologies recently launched Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5, bringing new functionality to the platform, as well as improvements in overall usability, navigation, and reporting. Multiple IT monitoring platforms are available on the market today, supporting the various needs of small, medium-sized, and large enterprises, as well as managed service providers (MSPs). To better understand how CA Nimsoft Monitor compares to other IT monitoring platforms in terms of functionality, operations, and usability, Apprize360 Intelligence studied and compared eight different IT monitoring products including: 1. CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.1 2. CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.5 3. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) 4. SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor (SAM) 5. SolarWinds Virtualization Manager 6. SolarWinds Storage Manager 7. Nagios XI 8. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring Study Methodology Apprize360 downloaded fully functional trial versions of each of the eight IT monitoring products included in this study, so as to understand the deployment and operational experience that a typical customer would encounter with each platform. The comparative analysis was performed using a Dell PowerEdge T620 Server with 768GB of memory across 24 DIMM slots and 64TB of disk space. For CA Nimsoft Monitor, IBM SmartCloud Monitoring, and the four SolarWinds products, the operating system used was Microsoft Server 2012. For Nagios XI, the same server Key Study Findings  CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 is a single, unified solution, and not several point products integrated together with a common GUI. This significantly reduces the time IT staff spends in trouble- shooting issues, generating day-to-day reports and managing their monitoring tools.  CA Nimsoft Monitor 7.5 was the easiest platform to download and begin using; embedded interactive guides allowed for faster implementation due to reduced initial configuration errors.  CA Nimsoft had the “fastest time to monitor” (time from download to active device monitoring) among the products studied, providing a more rapid time to value.  CA Nimsoft Monitor supports remote monitoring needs without requiring a dedicated VPN connection to remote sites.
  4. 4. 4 | P a g e was used, but it was partitioned to run Linux Red Hat Enterprise. In all cases, configuration and discovery was completed on a network with 100 end devices. Downloads of the trial versions of the platforms were carried out using a T1 connection that averaged 20-30MBPS Internet speeds. Enhancements from Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.1 to 7.5 CA Technologies launched its latest version of Nimsoft Monitor on April 2, 2014 called CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.5. Significant improvements were made from CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.1 to 7.5, primarily in the following five areas: 1. Faster and easier platform deployment 2. New and improved maintenance mode 3. HTML5 access and improved custom dashboards 4. Improved dynamic thresholds 5. Enhanced discovery capabilities Faster and Easier Platform Deployment CA Technologies has invested significantly in the deployment experience of CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5. The platform uses a self-extraction application from Flexera Software’s InstallAnywhere, making the guided downloaded experience of version 7.5 easy and quick. CA has included helpful on-screen tips and installation guide points, which allow IT administrators to prepare for future configuration and installation steps with CA Nimsoft Monitor. New and Improved Maintenance Mode CA Technologies has significantly enhanced CA Nimsoft Monitor’s maintenance mode capabilities in version 7.5. The maintenance mode probe allows users to bring systems in and out of maintenance mode with a push of a button. When systems are in maintenance mode, alarms for version 7.5 are suppressed, so that network changes can be made without alarm generation. New functionality also supports alarm suppression during regular or scheduled network maintenance, in order to avoid false alarms and alerts. HTML5 Access and Improved Custom Dashboards Mobile access and custom reporting are two additional areas that CA Technologies has strategically invested in for CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5. The CA Nimsoft Monitor dashboard portlet in the Unified Management Portal (UMP) has been improved for added usability, reliability, and performance. In version 7.5, users can also access CA Nimsoft Monitor dashboards on mobile devices. The CA Nimsoft Monitor UMP Dashboard portlet replaces the Custom Dashboards, Dashboard Designer, and Dynamic Views portlets in previous versions.
  5. 5. 5 | P a g e Improved Dynamic Thresholds In CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5, the baseline engine probe allows users to set dynamic thresholds for any probe that has alarm thresholds. CA Technologies has also improved the overall performance and stability of hub-to-hub tunnels. Additionally, the CA Nimsoft Monitor RESTful Web Services API has been enhanced, through improvements including:  Added REST API for Maintenance Mode  Added call to REST API QoS data retrieval, to retrieve QoS Constraint IDs for an SLO  Added REST API for enriched origins Enhanced Discovery Capabilities In CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5, the discovery process has been improved to include:  Improved SNMP characterization  Improved LUA functionality for Discovery Server  Improved NDP discovery for Discovery Agent  Configurable SNMP port CA Nimsoft Monitor V7.5 Configuration and Installation Process The installation process for CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 is fundamentally different from those of the other IT monitoring products offered by IBM, Nagios, and SolarWinds. CA Technologies has made sure that everything – from the product download to the installation process – is seamless and easy to complete. CA Technologies uses Flexera Software’s InstallAnywhere platform for CA Nimsoft Monitor installation, which makes installation and execution quick and uncomplicated. The only prerequisite is that the host server must be running Java in order for the installation to be completed. During the installation process, CA Nimsoft Monitor displays on-screen hints to prepare the IT administrator for the subsequent configuration and device discovery phases. Both Nagios and SolarWinds utilize a flat transfer of a ZIP file, which requires separate execution and manual file extraction. While no download or installation errors occurred with any of the platforms reviewed, the download and installation process of CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 was by far the easiest to use of all of the products assessed during this study. After the initial installation, the configuration of CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 continues to be straightforward. Of all of the vendor platforms reviewed, CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 was by far the easiest and quickest to configure and begin monitoring. The out-of-the-box automated discovery process took 15 minutes to identify and log all 100 devices. After the automated
  6. 6. 6 | P a g e discovery process was completed, CA Nimsoft Monitor immediately began monitoring devices for performance, highlighting any network latency and individual device performance issues. The CA Nimsoft Monitor Unified Service Manager (USM) dashboard gives the user a complete view of the entire IT environment being monitored. This includes supporting dynamic drill-down into specific areas of concern, right from the USM dashboard. Within the dashboard, users can also identify device performance issues by geography, measure overall performance, and review the latest alarms. The single dashboard provides a complete, unified view of an IT infrastructure, and is easy to access throughout the product, whenever the user wants to proactively review performance. However, if a user desires a more reactive approach, CA Nimsoft Monitor alarm capabilities allow for specific thresholds to be established for device and network performance. CA Nimsoft Monitor will then alert the IT administrator through an alarm or email notification concerning any performance-related alarms. This is another area in which version 7.5 has been enhanced in comparison with version 7.1. The dashboard portlet in USM provides improved usability, reliability, and performance, and allows the user to view dashboards on mobile tablet devices. Reporting is a significant strength of CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5. The reporting process is completely interactive, allowing the user to drag-and-drop specific devices onto the reporting screen for immediate graphing. Reporting can be initiated by a specific device, by a group of devices, or by quality of service. The platform’s advanced filtering capabilities enable granular reporting down to the specific probe level. In addition, Nimsoft version 7.5 supports the ability to import non-IT data, such as sales and revenue, to display alongside IT data. Comparative Benchmark Results Apprize360’s assessment discovered several differences in the installation and configuration processes, as well as in overall operations, between the various platforms included in this study. Overall, CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 led the group, with regard to overall ease-of-installation, configuration, and operations, as well as speed of download and installation. In addition, unlike SolarWinds and Nagios, CA Nimsoft Monitor offers more than a time-limited trial. SolarWinds only allows users 30 days of free use of its respective platforms, while Nagios provides a 60-day trial period. By comparison, CA offers a free version of the product, called CA Nimsoft Monitor CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.5 Unified Dashboard
  7. 7. 7 | P a g e Snap, which allows users to monitor up to 30 devices for as long as they want. For more info and to download, visit: www.ca.com/snap. The full quantitative results of this study can be found in Appendix A of this document, beginning on page 20. CA Nimsoft Monitor vs. SolarWinds All four of the assessed SolarWinds products use the same download and installation method. SolarWinds requires users to download a ZIP file containing an auto-extractable application that must then be manually activated. Unlike CA Nimsoft Monitor, SolarWinds offers no guided installation wizard to help the user through the installation process. In addition, the SolarWinds products involve several different steps that are needed to complete the installation. It took 61 minutes to download, install, configure, and discover 100 devices with CA Nimsoft Monitor. However, more than double that time was required to complete the same installation process with the four SolarWinds products. SolarWinds Virtualization Manager and SolarWinds NPM both took the longest to deploy, requiring roughly two hours before active monitoring could begin. Table 1: CA Nimsoft Monitor 7.5 vs. SolarWinds CA Nimsoft Monitor 7.5 SolarWinds NPM SolarWinds Storage Mgr SolarWinds Virtualization Mgr SolarWinds SAM Download 15 mins 11 mins 8 mins 15 mins 10 mins Installation 15 mins 52 mins 44 mins 73 mins 60 mins Configuration 16 mins 25 mins 38 mins 44 mins 33 mins Discovery 15 mins 25 mins 35 mins 32 mins 35 mins Total Time to Monitor 61 minutes 113 minutes 125 minutes 164 minutes 138 minutes After the relevant files are downloaded and the installation process is completed, the configuration of the various SolarWinds products varies slightly, due to their individual purposes. One issue that was quickly apparent in this study is that SolarWinds requires four separate products to meet the functionality found in the single instance of CA Nimsoft Monitor. Rather than having to load, navigate, and analyze data from four separate products – none of which are integrated together for dashboard analysis or reporting purposes in the trial versions – CA Nimsoft Monitor offers a single, unified architecture and dashboard. It is this type of easy-to-use navigation that gives CA Nimsoft Monitor a marked advantage over SolarWinds. CA Nimsoft Monitor vs. Nagios XI Nagios XI is an open-source IT monitoring product that runs on Linux servers. In a similar approach to SolarWinds, Nagios offers a free 60-day trial period with a fully functional license for Nagios XI. After 60 days, the user must decide whether to pay a licensing fee to keep Nagios XI functional. Nagios XI is licensed on a per-monitoring-server basis. License pricing is determined
  8. 8. 8 | P a g e by the number of hosts (nodes) that the user intends to monitor. There are no restrictions on the number of services that can be monitored with XI. While Nagios XI is a relatively inexpensive solution, an experienced IT administrator may be needed for its successful deployment and management. Downloading Nagios XI is a multi-step process that lacks the guided process offered by CA Nimsoft Monitor. After installation, the configuration process is highly technical, requiring the manual development of discovery queries and manual alert generation without on-screen guidance. It took almost three and half hours (197 minutes) to download, install, configure, and discover 100 devices with Nagios XI, while the same routine took 61 minutes in total for CA Nimsoft Monitor 7.5. Table 2: CA Nimsoft Monitor 7.5 vs. Nagios XI CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.5 Nagios XI Download 15 min 16 min Installation 15 min 22 min Configuration 16 min 118 min Discovery 15 min 41 min Total Time to Monitor 61 minutes 197 minutes CA Nimsoft Monitor vs. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring IBM SmartCloud Monitoring is available in a 30-day trial version that users can review and test. IBM SmartCloud includes IBM Tivoli Monitoring and the following IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Virtual Environments components:  Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machines agent  NetApp Storage agent, Network Devices agent, and VMware VI agent  Virtual Environments Dashboard  Virtual Environments Performance and Capacity Management Reports  Capacity Planner for Virtual Environments. The download of SmartCloud Monitoring is completed by downloading two separate files, both of which first require the download and use of IBM’s Java-based IBM Download Director. The first of these two files is the SmartCloud platform, and the second is the infrastructure node application. If users do not already have IBM Download Director installed, this requires a separate download of the file management platform. Like the download processes for SolarWinds and Nagios, the download of IBM SmartCloud Monitoring is a highly manual, unguided, and unsupported process. The download and installation of IBM SmartCloud was completed in 35 minutes in this study, while the entire
  9. 9. 9 | P a g e configuration process took two hours to complete. The total time from download to discovery and monitoring of 100 devices was three hours (180 minutes). Table 3: CA Nimsoft Monitor 7.5 vs. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.5 IBM SmartCloud Monitoring Download 15 min 15 min Installation 15 min 20 min Configuration 16 min 120 min Discovery 15 min 25 min Total Time to Monitor 61 minutes 180 minutes Remote Monitoring Considerations for Distributed Environments The ability to monitor remote networks is a growing need among MSPs and enterprises that need to observe remote networks over the public Internet. MSPs typically offer “remote monitoring” services for their clients, which require the ability to monitor the availability and performance of the infrastructures within their customers’ internal firewalls. Many corporations also need to monitor remote branch offices that are not connected to their corporate backbones. While all of the solutions evaluated in this report are able to monitor IT elements within a local environment, the ability to monitor remote customer networks under a single monitoring domain varies among vendors. In order to achieve remote monitoring visibility, any solution will require network connectivity to communicate with client devices and systems. Additionally, monitoring tools are needed to understand Network Address Translator (NAT) and duplicate private IP addresses from customer to customer. Finally, customer firewalls need to be considered, as many companies want their data to be transmitted securely and with a small footprint (i.e., minimal to zero firewall ports opened). As part of this report, the vendor products included in this analysis were assessed in order to understand their remote monitoring capabilities and ability to best address the needs of MSPs and large enterprises. CA Nimsoft Monitor  CA Nimsoft Monitor includes deep remote monitoring capabilities, which were developed in the earliest versions of the product. Customers that need to monitor remote locations, offices, and networks can do so by installing a software-based “hub” inside the client network. CA Nimsoft Monitor Multi-Site Deployment
  10. 10. 10 | P a g e  The CA Nimsoft Monitor hub then securely communicates monitoring information from the remote site to the primary Nimsoft server, over a single port using an SSL tunnel. No third- party VPN technology is required, and CA Technologies does not impose any extra charge for this connectivity capability.  Nimsoft portal access can also be granted to each client, so that customers only have access to monitoring data from their local hubs, which enables MSPs to supply live content to their clients under a single Nimsoft deployment. CA Nimsoft Monitor delivers multi-tenancy support to MSPs that leverage these capabilities. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor There are four options for enabling remote monitoring with SolarWinds NPM. These include:  Option 1: Centralized deployment – This involves the centralized deployment of NPM, and then the utilization of VPN connections to each remote network. If no VPN connection exists, NPM must be deployed at each site, with access made possible via a web console. This option can be costly and can increase monitoring complexity for MSPs and large enterprises, which have to use multiple VPNs for this arrangement.  Option 2: Distributed deployment – This option allows for the deployment of NPM at each customer site. Data from each NPM deployment is then sent to and processed by a separate SolarWinds module, called SolarWinds Enterprise Operations Console (EOC), at the MSP’s NOC. This option is very complex for MSPs, and requires a standalone SolarWinds NPM deployment for each customer. Additionally, the SolarWinds Enterprise Operations Console, which is the software required to combine all of the remote installations into a single MSP NOC view, starts at a price of US$4,995 per deployment.  Option 3: Hybrid approach – This option is used when the customer has implemented more than one SolarWinds product with one product in a centralized model and the others in a distributed model. Similar to option 2 above, SolarWinds EOC is used to connect all the platforms together for data collection and analysis. MSPs considering this option may be concerned over the lack of standardization across their customer base, and the need for an individual strategy for each client.  Option 4: N-able – SolarWinds also recommends that customers with a highly distributed architecture consider their new N-able product to avoid remote monitoring challenges. N- able is a remote monitoring company that SolarWinds acquired. CA Nimsoft Monitor has the advantage in this case, as a dedicated VPN connection is not required for each case of communication to each remote site.
  11. 11. 11 | P a g e Nagios XI Like SolarWinds, Nagios suggests a full-time VPN connection to remote locations as its preferred option. The company also offers a “distributed monitoring” configuration option. However, employing this option can become very complicated, as it requires an additional module called the Multi-Nagios Tactical Overview System (MNTOS) monitoring aggregation tool. MNTOS allows the Nagios XI user to setup an aggregated view of multiple Nagios monitoring servers, making it the preferred tool for distributed monitoring environments (similar to the Enterprise Operations Consoles’ role for SolarWinds). It is suggested that users fully research their remote monitoring options with Nagios, in order to understand the cost and effort required to monitor remote customer networks with the platform. While Nagios’ open source offering is free of software licensing costs, those savings can be quickly burned as a result of the human hours required to get the environment up and running – and to keep it up. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring The distributed monitoring capabilities within the IBM SmartCloud platform were the hardest to determine during our testing. Because information on this metric was not readily available, a detailed analysis could not be completed. Summary of Testing Scenarios In addition to benchmark tests of the vendor platforms, Apprize360 created specific testing scenarios that were applied to each vendor’s products. The full scenario testing results can be found in Table 7, which begins on page 24 of this report. The following is a summary analysis of the test results, which highlights the most impressive scenario responses and capabilities assessed for each vendor’s product. Configuration CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.5 One of the advantages of CA Nimsoft Monitor is the “agent-optional” approach. This allows the user to access to both an agent-based or an agentless monitoring configuration, based upon their specific needs and their environment. CA Nimsoft Monitor’s agent-less monitoring option collects information from “black box” systems, such as hypervisors, SAN storage systems, network devices, SaaS, and cloud environments where no agents are permitted. CA Nimsoft Monitor’s agent-based monitoring provides spooling of performance metrics in disconnected environments so no data is ever lost in outages.
  12. 12. 12 | P a g e CA Nimsoft Monitor uses what it calls a “robot” (analogous to an agent) to collect and disseminate information about a managed device. Customers that want to leverage on-board monitoring configurations install a lightweight robot on each managed device. These robots provide the communication functionality required for a system to be monitored in a CA Nimsoft Monitor domain. CA Nimsoft Monitor offers the “Automated Deployment Engine” (ADE) that enables administrators to quickly and centrally distribute agents to remote target servers, removing the need to manually install the robot binary onto each system directly. CA Nimsoft Monitor then leverages one or more “probes” to monitor specific components/technologies on a managed device. For example, one common probe, the CDM probe, is responsible for monitoring CPU, disk and memory utilization on target hosts. Over140 probes are available, allowing users to manage the entire IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network devices, applications and databases as well as user response time monitoring and data center power consumption. Probes can be easily deployed across an entire network via a simple drag-and-drop interface—or programmatically in an automated fashion. SolarWinds SolarWinds NPM can monitor the performance of SNMPv1, SNMPv2, or SNMPv3-enabled devices within a network. SolarWinds NPM uses either Network Sonar discovery and import or Node Management in the NPM Web Console to discover objects for monitoring. To discover and add a larger number of devices across a network, the Network Sonar and Network Sonar Results Wizards are available. The web console provides Web Node Management to add individual objects for monitoring. After Network Sonar Discovery has populated the SolarWinds Database with the network objects to be included in monitoring, node and volume information is passed to the Business Layer. The Business Layer passes node and volume information to the Collector Polling Controller and provides licensing information to the SolarWinds Information Service (SWIS). At this point, the SolarWinds Collector Polling Controller creates the required polling jobs and then passes them on to the Job Engine. The Job Engine performs the requested polling jobs and then passes the results to the Collector Polling Controller. There, all polling results are placed into the Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ). Here, the Collector Data Prosssor pulls polling results from the MSMQ and performs calculations and then inserts these results into the SolarWinds database. Nagios XI The Nagios XI Monitoring Wizard is used to configure and monitor a new device. After the device is discovered, a separate wizard is run to configure monitored elements. Each device category requires a separate wizard (see diagram). In addition, Nagios XI requires multiple tabs and open windows to complete a task that other products can complete in a single screen. This makes device configuration potentially time consuming and complicated to conduct.
  13. 13. 13 | P a g e IBM SmartCloud Monitoring IBM SmartCloud Monitoring is an agent-based platform that requires agents to be installed on various devices and sub-components. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring includes agents for various devices and systems except for storage systems. Storage agents must be acquired separately. Overall, configuring and deploying IBM agents is a complex and multi-step process. With IBM SmartCloud Monitoring, there are two types of agent deployments supported:  OS agent deployment from the installation image or using IBM command called “tacmd createNode”. The tacmd createNode command also creates a node, the directory into which not only the OS agent is installed, but also where any non-OS agents are deployed.  Non-OS agent (such as the DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows agent) deployment using the Tivoli Enterprise Portal GUI (for other non-OS agents) or the “tacmd addSystem” command. We discovered that remote deployment of agents is the easiest method for agent configuration and installation. Remote deployment provides the ability to deploy agents across the environment from a central location. At this central location, a repository is created to store the agent images called the “agent depot”. The agent depot is then populated with the desired installation images and then is verified. Once the depot has been verified to contain all the desired images, they are distributed out in the network. All agents that will be deployed in the network require their application support files that contain the agent-specific information, which must be installed in the Enterprise host server. Out-of-The-Box Dashboards CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.5 CA Nimsoft Monitor provides intuitive, up-to-date portal views of monitoring data. The solution features a monitoring portal that provides a complete view of the systems and services that underpin vital business services, whether those are based on any combination of virtualized infrastructures, SaaS offerings, cloud-based services, or outsourced environments. In addition, the solution offers multi-tenant capabilities that enable services providers, or enterprises, to monitor and manage the infrastructures of multiple clients or users. Configurable dashboards offer end-users and service providers real-time, immediate access to the monitoring data that matters to them. CA Nimsoft Monitor reports provide snapshots and
  14. 14. 14 | P a g e historical context for quality of service, performance and SLA compliance monitoring. In addition dashboards can be tailored to specific users, groups and roles, enabling users to see any type of data that matters to them in a single view. For service providers, dashboards can be branded and customized for each end user. CA Nimsoft Monitor also supports out-of-the-box dashboards for VMware health and performance, power consumption, Amazon Web Services, and data center performance. SolarWinds SolarWinds NPM users can select out-of-the-box dashboards or can build their own custom dashboards via drag-and-drop placement charts and reports. Dashboards are also dynamic, allowing for the user to click and drill-down into additional data. One area where we discovered some complexity is when integrating specific data into NPM dashboards. For example, a NPM user is still required to log into the server and use the old Windows application when configuring alerting. Nagios XI Reporting is area in which Nagios XI is inferior when compared to CA Nimsoft Monitor. Nagios requires the use of a report writer to generate reports on specific devices, alerts, and performance analysis. The Nagios XI report writer involves a multiple-screen, multi-step process that takes time to set up and to use to generate reports. In addition, Nagios XI reports are heavily focused on node availability. Users can run a “report summary” of specific host availability as well as nine pre-canned available reports, including a summary, event log, notification log, and bandwidth usage report. Dashboards are another area in which CA Nimsoft Monitor has a comparative advantage over Nagios XI. While the main Nagios XI dashboard provides information on overall performance state, as well as alerts on performance issues, Nagios has no single, unified dashboard for understanding IT health on one screen. Instead, Nagios utilizes multiple dashboards on multiple separate webpages, which are categorized by the specific host or service group. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring IBM SmartCloud Monitoring has a central dashboard called a “health dashboard”. The dashboard is automatically sorted by severity of issue. In addition, users can click directly into specific tools as well as drill down into the actual physical component. For example, an IT administrator may be alerted to a storage problem on the dashboard and has the ability to drill down into the IBM Tivoli monitoring tools for storage management and begin to address the issue from there. The other positive aspect of this tool is that by placing your cursor over a highlighted topic or device creates a pop-up in the window, giving the user immediate information about that device.
  15. 15. 15 | P a g e Service Level Agreement (SLA) Reporting CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.5 CA Nimsoft Monitor includes a robust SLA tracking and reporting module that monitors operations and business service levels against SLA targets and forecasts violations with warning alerts. This part of the Nimsoft solution provides a graphical interface for defining SLA parameters, which can include the compliance period and operating periods, exclusion windows, the SLA target compliance percentage and more. Web-based SLA compliance reports with drill- down granularity are auto-generated and auto-distributed. The CA Nimsoft Monitor SLA reporting and monitoring solution will also continuously perform calculations to determine if the current period SLA is safely in compliance. It will determine if a SLA breach is imminent should the problem or condition be allowed to persist. CA Nimsoft SLA reports include color-coded SLA compliance/breach trend indicators with forecasted breach date and time. Warning and critical level alerts can be generated when the percentage compliance decreases to predefined thresholds. It is important to note that any metric can be tracked for SLA reporting within CA Nimsoft Monitor, including non-IT metrics that may be important to your organization. As an example, if the number of users logged into an e-commerce site or average sales price per transaction metrics were held in an external database, CA Nimsoft Monitor could collect such metrics and analyze them for SLA purposes. This module can help eliminate time consuming manual reporting. SolarWinds SolarWinds’ IP SLA Manager is a free add-on module to SolarWinds NPM that is designed to identify site-specific or WAN-related network performance issues. SolarWinds IP SLA Manager can help locate which devices on a network actually support IP SLA and automatically setup operations for those devices. SolarWinds IP SLA also allows users to monitor WAN applications by taking the performance-pulse of underlying network protocols, including DNS lookups, FTP, HTTP, TCP connect, and UDP jitter, while continuing to monitor VoIP call paths. Note that SolarWinds does not appear to offer a “global” SLA monitoring or reporting application that allows customers to mix and match cross-domain key performance indicators. Nagios XI Nagios XI does not have SLA support out-of-the-box, making this a difficult solution to support MSPs as well as internal IT organizations that have SLAs with internal business units or external service providers.
  16. 16. 16 | P a g e IBM SmartCloud Monitoring IBM SmartCloud Monitoring lacks integrated SLA reporting. SLA reporting with IBM SmartCloud Monitoring is accomplished through licensing add-on IBM products. Customers can add SLA monitoring to their deployment through using the IBM Tivoli Service Level Advisor or by deploying IBM Maximo. IBM Tivoli Service Level Advisor is a wizard-based platform that allows users to set, monitor, and report on IT services that are not meeting defined service levels. IBM Maximo SLA Manager helps to define SLA agreements for monitoring as well as create rules for escalation procedures when SLA bounds are breeched. This add-on module supports a real-time graphical UI to display key performance indicators and SLA performance. Overall ease of use – Unified Views, Workflows, Alarms, Device Views, & Reporting CA Nimsoft Monitor Version 7.5 CA Nimsoft Monitor alarm management helps IT operations personnel manage the flood of events that come in from the IT infrastructure by eliminating duplicate event signals and filtering events according to operational or business priorities. The goals are to improve the mean time to isolate and repair problems and to prioritize IT support efforts according to business process value. Through the solution’s custom filters, customers can set alerts only when an exception occurs, such as an outage, failure, or threshold breach. CA Nimsoft Monitor alarm management helps IT organizations reduce the time it takes to troubleshoot problems by consolidating events from various devices, servers and applications and providing the ability to assign alarms to the right IT staff. CA Nimsoft Monitor features a monitoring portal that offers a single role-based, intuitive view of all monitoring data. This portal extends the multi-tenant capabilities of CA Nimsoft Monitor, enabling service providers to effectively report service level agreement (SLA) status and monitoring information to clients, while offering clear, executive-ready dashboards to display SLA status for in-house stake holders. Out-of-the-box portlets and end user level customization allow CA Nimsoft Monitor users to adjust and optimize their monitoring views. SolarWinds SolarWinds NPM reporting is generated through the “Report Writer” feature embedded within the web console. Report Writer also allows customers to create custom network monitoring reports using SQL. A variety of predefined reports are also included in the NPM deployment. One area of deficiency is the area of ad hoc report generation. While there are a number of pre- defined reports, generating an ad hoc report on specific devices or groups took time and several different steps to generate. Reporting is also limited to non-graphical based tables.
  17. 17. 17 | P a g e Nagios XI Reporting is area in which Nagios XI is inferior when compared to CA Nimsoft Monitor. Nagios requires the use of a report writer to generate reports on specific devices, alerts, and performance analysis. The Nagios XI report writer involves a multiple-screen, multi-step process that takes time to set up and to use to generate reports. In addition, Nagios XI reports are heavily focused on node availability. Users can run a “report summary” of specific host availability as well as nine pre-canned available reports, including a summary, event log, notification log, and bandwidth usage report. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring Integrated analytics is area of strength for IBM SmartCloud Monitoring. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring supports a dynamic, graphics-based UI, which includes integrated capacity planning and optimization of cloud and virtual environments. Capacity planning is an area of strength for this platform. IBM SmartCloud Monitoring includes “what-if” analysis that enables IT administrators to model potential capacity scenarios to make informed decisions on future expansion. For example, whether it is possible to consolidate from three virtual hosts to two, or how many older hosts would be required to run desired workloads, versus upgrading to new ones. Users can model these scenarios to determine the most efficient, cost-effective IT strategy.
  18. 18. 18 | P a g e Summary and Conclusions CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 is an easy-to-use and quick-to-deploy IT monitoring solution. Of the eight solutions assessed, CA Monitor version 7.5’s installation and configuration process made it the easiest and quickest way to begin monitoring IT assets. There are several factors that make CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 unique: 1) Monitoring functionality is hosted in a single, unified platform. It takes four SolarWinds products to provide the functionality offered by a single instance of CA Nimsoft Monitor. 2) CA Nimsoft Monitor supports a guided installation and configuration process. This offers a deployment process that is quick and intuitive, allowing for the correct decisions to be made during initial configuration. 3) CA Nimsoft Monitor had the fastest “time to monitor” (time from download, through configuration, and to reporting on device monitoring), at 61 minutes. The closest alternative was SolarWinds NPM at 113 minutes, which is almost twice as long as the time for CA Nimsoft Monitor and is limited to only network monitoring (see Table 4 and Figure 1 below). 4) CA Nimsoft Monitor’s drag-and-drop reporting made deep device reporting simple and fast. 5) Of the eight products analyzed, CA Nimsoft Monitor’s discovery process was the fastest in identifying devices and beginning active device monitoring. 6) CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 supports easier remote monitoring for MSPs and large enterprise environments through a single, unified platform. 7) CA Nimsoft Monitor version 7.5 was the most responsive, and was capable of addressing most of the testing scenarios without any additional add-on modules. 0 50 100 150 200 250 CA Nimsoft SW NPM SW Storage SW VM SW SAM Nagios XI IBM SCM Download Install Configure Discovery Minutes Figure 1: Total Time to Monitor
  19. 19. 19 | P a g e Table 4: Comparative Summary - Total Time to Monitor CA Nimsoft Monitor v7.5 SolarWinds NPM SolarWinds Storage Mgr SolarWinds Virtualization Mgr SolarWinds SAM Nagios XI IBM SmartCloud Monitoring Download 15 min 11 min 8 min 15 min 10 min 16 min 15 min Installation 15 min 52 min 44 min 73 min 60 min 22 min 20 min Configurati on 16 min 25 min 38 min 44 min 33 min 118 min 120 min Discovery 15 min 25 min 35 min 32 min 35 min 41 min 25 min Total Time to Monitor 61 minutes 113 minutes 125 minutes 164 minutes 138 minutes 197 minutes 180 minutes
  20. 20. TABLE 5: CA Nimsoft Monitor (v 7.1 & 7.5) vs. Solarwinds Topics Description CA NIMSOFT Monitor Version 7.1 CA NIMSOFT Monitor Version 7.5 Solarwinds NPM Solarwinds Virtualization Manager Solarwinds SAM Solarwinds Storage Manager SCORE NOTES SCORE NOTES SCORE NOTES SCORE NOTES SCORE NOTES SCORE NOTES Installation Total Download 5 25 min 5 15 min 4 11 min 4 15 min 4 10 min 4 8 min Total Installation 5 19 min 5 15 min 4 52 min 3 73 min 4 60 min 4 44 min Download Size 4 1.2 GB 4 1.1 GB 4 5.4 GB 4 1.42 GB VMware/ 1.4 GB Hyper-V 5 640 MB 5 315 mb windows/408 mb Linux Installation Difficulty 5 EASY; Wizard- based 5 EASY; Wizard- based 3 Multiple Steps 3 Multiple Steps 3 Multiple Steps 4 Multiple Steps but straight forward Installation errors 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 Zero Configuration Total Time to Configure 5 18 min 5 16 min 4 25 Minutes 4 44 Min 4 33 Min 4 38 Min Ease of configuration 5 EASY; Wizard- based 5 EASY; Wizard- based 4 "Intelligent" alert configuration 3 Highly Manual, time consuming 4 Manual, time consuming 4 Manual, time consuming Platform Ease of Use Overall Ease of Use of Platform 5 EASY 5 EASY 4 MEDIUM; Prior experience with IT mgt needed 4 Multiple screens with dashboards 4 MEDIUM; Prior IT mgt experience 4 MEDIUM; Prior experience with IT mgt needed UI & Navigation 5 Dynamic drill- down 5 Dynamic drill- down 4 Drop-down menus 4 Drop-Down menus 4 Drop down menus 4 Drop-down menus Ease of Performance Reporting 5 EASY 5 EASY 4 MEDIUM 4 Data is there, overwhelming & difficult to scale back 4 MEDIUM 4 MEDIUM Visualize component performance 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 4 Can force view into graphic format 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 5 HIGH VISBILITY Performance Overall app performance 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE Discovery of 100 network components 5 19 MIN 5 15 MIN 4 25 min 4 32 min 3 35 min; Requires separate module 4 35 min Overall dashboard performance 5 HIGHEST PERFORMANCE 5 HIGHEST PERFORMANCE 4 HIGH PERFORMANCE 4 HIGH PERFORMANCE 4 HIGH PERFORMANCE 4 HIGH PERFORMANCE Diagnosis and Resolution Performance issue identification 5 IMMEDIATE 5 IMMEDIATE 4 Slight Delay 4 Took 5 min before data storage capacity was alerted 4 IMMEDIATE 4 IMMEDIATE
  21. 21. 21 | P a g e Problem Discovery Workflow 5 STRONG 5 STRONG 2 PARTIAL in COMPARISON 5 Provides recommendations to remediate alert 2 PARTIAL in COMPARISON 2 PARTIAL in COMPARISON Level of Unification Level of Integration 5 Unified platform 5 Unified platform 1 4 separate platforms 1 4 separate platforms 1 4 separate platforms 1 4 separate platforms Reporting OOTB vs. Customization 3 Capability of Configuration 4 Deep configuration capability 4 Requires custom report writer 4 Requires custom report writer 4 Requires custom report writer 4 Customer report writer Quantity of Reports 5 HIGH NUMBER OF REPORTS 5 HIGH NUMBER OF REPORTS 4 Several pre- canned reports 4 Canned reports available; lots of data 4 Several pre- canned reports 3 Tabular reports Dashboards 5 SINGLE DASHBOARD 5 SINGLE DASHBOARD 5 OTTB Dashboards 4 Includes Benchmarks; Too much data on one screen 5 OTTB Dashboards 3 Static dashboards Custom Report Capability 1 Limited Customization 4 Deep Customization 5 Custom report writer 5 Custom report writer 5 Custom report writer 5 Custom report writer Mobile Optimized Reporting 1 Limited Optimization 5 Highly Optimized 2 Limited Optimization 2 Limited Optimization 2 Limited Optimization 2 Limited Optimization Overall Self- Guided Support Guided Supported during install & configure 5 STRONG Wizards 5 STRONG Wizards 3 Limited guidance 3 Limited guidance 3 Limited guidance 3 Limited guidance Support Community Support Community 3 Growing community 4 Growing community 5 Large & extremely active 'Thwack' support community 5 Large & extremely active 'Thwack' support community 5 Large & extremely active 'Thwack' support community 5 Large & extremely active 'Thwack' support community Overall Score Out of 120 pts 107 116 93 92 93 92 Percentage Grade 89% 97% 78% 77% 78% 77%
  22. 22. 22 | P a g e TABLE 6: CA Nimsoft Monitor 7.5 vs. Nagios XI and IBM SmartCloud Monitoring Topics Description CA NIMSOFT Monitor Version 7.5 Nagios XI IBM SmartCloud Monitoring SCORE NOTES SCORE NOTES SCORE NOTES Installation Total Download time 5 15 min 5 16 min 5 15 Min Total Installation Time 5 15 min 5 22 Min 5 20 min Download Size 4 1.1 GB 5 255 MB MSFT VM 4 776 mb (2 files) Level of Installation Difficulty 5 EASY; Wizard-based 3 Multiple Steps 3 Multiple steps; requires IBM Download Director Total number of installation errors 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 Zero Configuration Total Time to Configure 5 16 min 2 118 Min 2 120 min Ease of configuration 5 EASY; Wizard-based 3 Requires manual query development; manual alert generation without guidance 3 Requires manual alert generation without guidance Platform Ease of Use Overall Ease of Use of Platform 5 EASY 4 Fairly easy to use 4 MEDIUM; Prior experience with IT mgt needed UI & Navigation 5 Dynamic drill-down 3 Drop-down menus with limited dynamic drill-down 3 Drop-down menus Ease of reporting performance of components 5 EASY 3 Requires a report writer, multiple steps, slow report generation 3 Requires a separate report generation writer Ability to visualize performance of components 5 HIGH VISABILITY 3 LIMITED VISIBILITY of all Components 3 Limited visibility; requires multiple screens Performance Overall app performance 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 4 RESPONSIVE 4 RESPONSIVE Discovery of 100 network & system components 5 15 MIN 4 41 min 4 25 min Overall dashboard performance 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 4 Limited dashboard but responsive 4 Multiple dashboards Diagnosis and resolution Performance issue identification 5 IMMEDIATE 2 Slow to identify; Example took 10 min for alerting 2 Slow to identify; Example took 15 min before alert generation Guided workflow for problem discovery 5 STRONG 2 LIMITED 2 Limited guided workflow
  23. 23. 23 | P a g e Level of Unification Level of Integration 5 Unified platform 2 Requires additional modules (Fusion, XI, & Core) 2 Separate modules Reporting OOTB vs. Customization 4 Deep Configuration 2 Uses report writing engine for all reports; requires multiple steps to generate a report; slow report gen 3 Limited customization; Option for IBM BI integration Quantity of Reports 5 HIGH NUMBER OF REPORTS 2 Uses report writing engine for all reports 4 Uses separate report writing module; Several pre-canned reports; Supports capacity planning Dashboards 5 SINGLE DASHBOARD 3 Limited DB to include System beck & behavior 3 Stat dashboards; No dynamic drilldown Custom Report Capability 4 Deep Customization 3 Limited custom reporting 3 Limited customization; Option for IBM BI integration Mobile Optimized Reporting 5 Highly Optimized 1 Extremely limited optimization 1 Extremely limited optimization Overall Self- Guided Support Guided Supported during install & configure 5 STRONG Wizards 3 Limited guidance 3 Limited guidance Support Community Support Community 4 Growing community 5 Strong support community 0 No specific community for SmartCloud Monitoring Overall Score Out of 120 points 116 78 75 Percentage Score 97% 65% 63%
  24. 24. 24 | P a g e TABLE 7: Comparative Assessment of Response to Specific Scenarios Specific Scenario CA Nimsoft Monitor Solarwinds NPM Nagios XI IBM SmartCloud Monitoring Agent-installation Process Installed via a “robot”; Bulk robot installation via Automated Deployment Engine (ADE) N/A - NPM is an agentless-only platform NCPA agent (Nagios Cross Platform Agent) via Nagios Monitoring Wizard; requires manual input of IP addresses Requires deployment of specific device/environment agents; Requires “Agent Builder” module to deploy & manage agents Configure basic system monitoring of CPU, disk and memory via agent approach. Uses robot for CDM probe; Can set polling frequency & number of samples for each component N/A - NPM is an agentless platform Part of auto-discovery process; Displays info within “Service Status” dashboard Requires separate module called “Agent Builder” to deploy & configure OS & CPU-specific agents Configure basic system monitoring of CPU, disk and memory via an agentless monitoring approach Uses RSP probe via SSH, WMI, or telnet protocol; Can set alerts on various thresholds Graphic-based “Gauge” displaying memory load & utilization with ability to set alert thresholds N/A – is an Agent-Only platform N/A – is an Agent-Only platform Configure basic "ping" monitoring Use Net Connect probe; Integrated Ping sweep via IP addresses Must configure through the NPM polling engine & set default polling settings; Requires separate PingSweep add-on (part of Solarwinds “Engineer Toolset”); uses SNMP, ICMP, & WMI polling Part of auto-discovery wizard or can monitoring individual device if IP address is known Requires “Agent Builder” module (sits outside platform) to configure basic monitoring; Not integrated into platform E-mail notification, escalation and custom alarm management Can generate a "business" alarm upon receipt of other alarms. Completed via the Nimsoft “NAS” and the Auto-operator Free “Alert Central” module for central alert management; Includes desktop alert management Basic email notification with limited alarm customization Wizard-based; easy to setup with escalation management based on rules engine Test a URL (via an HTTP test) and a ping test from a managed server Requires URL Response Probe; Can test within Probe profile tab Requires separate HTTP Monitor module for URL testing Within dashboard; Has website URL monitoring wizard Not able to test; Did not appear to support URL and ping test Review the entire library of out of the box Unified Views/Dashboards that ship with the solution 24 dashboard views; all highly graphical dashboards that are customizable – can use “portlets” (widgets) to create custom dashboards for specific users or teams. Can use “widgets” to create custom dashboards; Comprehensive dashboard capabilities within NPM with 30 pre-configured dashboards 30 dashboards by specific category; Custom “dashlets” priced separately; Has central “service status” dashboard Comprehensive set of dashboards & reports with integrated capacity planning Create a simple SLA report to track several metrics. Generate an SLA alert Custom or pre-configured SLA reports; Performance on availability, frequency, response time, and quality; Provides a graphical interface for defining SLA parameters Requires additional module to be licensed; Solarwinds IP SLA Monitor or Solarwinds Network Quality Manager required for SLA reporting Limited SLA reporting support; Basic up-time reporting only Can set and track limited SLAs from Health dashboard; Requires add-on modules from IBM Service Level Manager for more in-depth SLA monitoring and reporting Overall ease of use, unified views, workflows, built in alarms, device views in a single interface Single unified interface with one view of device status, alarms, and workflow execution Multiple tabs & apps required; Customers may have NPM and SAM deployed along with other modules. Multiple tabs and webpages required for different views of devices & device categories Integrated unified interface; Contact-sensitive interface with dashboards
  25. 25. A Special Report by Apprize360 Intelligence for CA Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2014. Apprize360 Intelligence, INC. www.apprize360.com San Francisco, CA Info@apprize360.com

×