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Assessment of Free IT Monitoring Tools
 

Assessment of Free IT Monitoring Tools

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Research report on free IT monitoring tools, including Solarwinds, CA Nimsoft Snap, Nagios XI

Research report on free IT monitoring tools, including Solarwinds, CA Nimsoft Snap, Nagios XI

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    Assessment of Free IT Monitoring Tools Assessment of Free IT Monitoring Tools Document Transcript

    • Comparative Analysis of Free IT Monitoring Platforms Review of SolarWinds, CA Technologies, and Nagios IT monitoring platforms The new CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap solution offers users broad access to monitor and manage up to 30 devices for free. The following analysis compares Snap to similar free or trial IT monitoring platform versions: SolarWinds’ free trial versions of four IT monitoring modules as well as Nagios XI. Apprize360 Intelligence, INC. October 15, 2013 A Special Report Commissioned by CA Technologies
    • Overview and Summary CA Nimsoft Monitor is a premier IT monitoring solution that has Key Study Findings deep monitoring functionality in a single, unified architecture.  Snap is free: no time limitations on CA Technologies now offers a free version of Nimsoft Monitor, usage appropriately named CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap, or Snap for short. What is unique about this offering is that it is not a trial  Snap is a single, unified solution: not version. CA Technologies offers customers usage of Snap for up several point products integrated to 30 devices. This includes monitoring of servers, applications, together with a common GUI databases, websites, and network and storage devices with  Snap supports unlimited monitoring unlimited monitoring frequency. There is no automated of 30 devices discontinuation of the platform 30 or 60 days post-installation. Snap makes it easy for a company to evaluate the Nimsoft monitoring technology without a set time limitation. Or, if you have 30 devices or less, you can use Snap as your primary monitoring tool without a paid license. Snap offers users the following:         Free usage Monitor up to 30 devices, with unlimited monitors per device Server, application, network, database, storage & website monitoring No limit to the frequency device monitoring Easy-to-deploy installation, configuration and a “directed user experience” (i.e. Snap Tips, howto videos, etc.) Email notifications Intuitive dashboards, reports & alarm views Community support To better understand how Snap stacks up to other free IT monitoring platforms, Apprize360 Intelligence reviewed the installation and configuration processes of the following six platforms:       CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor (SAM) SolarWinds Virtualization Manager SolarWinds Storage Manager Nagios XI The comparative analysis was performed using a Dell PowerEdge T620 Server with 768GB of memory across 24 DIMM slots and 64 TB of disk space. For Snap and the four SolarWinds platforms, the operating system used was Microsoft Server 2012. For Nagios XI, we used the same server partitioned to run Linux Red Hat Enterprise. In all cases, configuration and discovery was completed on a network with 30 devices. Downloads occurred using 40 MBPS Internet speeds. 2|Page
    • Snap Configuration & Installation Process Snap’s installation process is fundamentally different from the other products reviewed. True to its name, Snap is a “snap” to install and configure. CA Technologies made sure that everything, from the product download to the installation process of Snap, is seamless and easy to perform. CA Technologies used the InstallAnywhere platform for Snap installation, which makes the installation and execution of Snap quick and easy. During the installation process, Snap displays on-screen hints to prepare you for configuration and device discovery. 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, the Snap download and installation process was by far the easiest to use of all the platforms assessed. After the initial installation, configuration of Snap continues to be true to its name. Out of the 6 platforms reviewed, Snap was by far the easiest and quickest to configure. The out-of-the-box automated discovery process took only a few minutes to identify and log all 30 devices. After the automated discovery process was completed, Snap immediately began monitoring devices for performance, highlighting any network latency and individual device performance issues. It is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces we have ever experienced for an IT management platform. The Snap Unified Service Manager dashboard gives you a complete view of your environment, allowing you to drill-down into specific areas of concern or interest. Within the dashboard, you can also identify device performance issues by geography, overall performance, and the latest alarms. The single dashboard provides a full unified view of your infrastructure and is easy to access throughout if you want to proactively review network performance. However, if you want to take a more reactive approach, the Snap alarms allow you to set specific thresholds for device and network performance. Snap will alert you through an alarm or email notification of any performance related alarms. 3|Page
    • Reporting is one the most significant strengths of Snap. Reporting is completely interactive, allowing you to dragand-drop specific devices onto the reporting screen for immediate graphing. Reporting can be initiated by a specific device (or group of devices) or the quality of services (QoS). The advanced filtering capabilities enable granular reporting down to the specific probe level. Comparative Benchmark Results Apprize360’s assessment discovered several differences in the installation and configuration processes as well as in overall operations between the six platforms researched. Snap led with overall ease-of-installation, configuration, and operations as well as speed of download and installation. Snap, compared to SolarWinds and Nagios, is not a time limited trial. SolarWinds only allows you 30 days free use of their respective platforms while Nagios has a 60-day trial period. The full quantitative results can be found in Appendix A of this document beginning on page 8. Snap vs. SolarWinds All four assessed SolarWinds platforms use the same download and installation methods. SolarWinds requires users to download a ZIP file containing an auto-extractable application that requires manual activation. Unlike Snap, there is no guided installation wizard to help the user through the installation process. In addition, the SolarWinds platforms require several different steps to complete the installation. It took 43 minutes to download, install, configure, and discover devices with Snap. However, it took more than double the time to complete the same installation process with the Solarwinds platforms. Solarwinds Virtualization Manager and Solarwinds NPM both took the longest to deploy, requiring two hours before active network monitoring could begin. 4|Page
    • Download Installation Configure Discovery Total Time to Monitor CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap Solarwinds NPM Solarwinds Storage Mgr 11 min 22 min 5 min 5 min 10 min 65 min 30 min 15 min 9 min 45 min 45 min 15 min 43 minutes 120 minutes 114 minutes Solarwinds Virtualization Mgr Solarwinds SAM 15 min 75 min 45 min 25 min 9 min 45 min 40 min 20 min 120 minutes 114 min After the file is downloaded and the installation process ends, configuration of the various SolarWinds platforms differs slightly due to their individual purposes. One issue that was quickly apparent is that SolarWinds requires four separate platforms to meet the functionality found in the single instance of Snap. Having to deploy four separate platforms is not a very compelling value proposition. Rather than having to load, navigate, and analyze data from four separate platforms – none of which in the trial versions are integrated together for dashboard analysis or reporting purposes – Snap offers a single, unified dashboard. It is this type of easyto-use navigation that gives Snap a marked advantage over SolarWinds. While SolarWinds does offer a very robust support community (called “Thwack”), the Snap community, called Snap Central - while currently small - is growing quickly. However, for immediate assistance, you can use Snap’s embedded video support to learn best practices for installing, configuring, and monitoring with Snap with HD videos that are 1-2 minutes in length. Snap vs. Nagios XI Nagios XI is an open-source network monitoring platform that runs on Linux servers. Similar to SolarWinds, Nagios offers a free 60-day trial period with a fully functional license to Nagios XI. After 60 days, the user must then decide to pay the license fee to keep XI functional. Nagios XI is licensed on a per-monitoring server basis. License pricing is determined by the number of hosts (nodes) the user intends to monitor. There are no restrictions on the number of services that can be monitored with XI. Pricing starts at $1,995 for up to 100 hosts and includes email support for 5 incidents. While Nagios XI is a relatively inexpensive solution, you have to be an experienced IT administrator to deploy and manage XI. Downloading Nagios XI was a multi-step process that lacked the guided process that Snap offered. After installation, the configuration process was highly technical, requiring manual development of discovery queries and manual alert generation without on-screen guidance. It took a total of 3 hours (180 minutes) to download, 5|Page
    • install, configure, and discover devices with Nagios XI compared to 43 minutes total with Snap for the same routine. Download Installation Configure Discovery Total Time Monitor CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap to Nagios XI 11 min 22 min 5 min 5 min 15 min 20 min 120 min 25 min 43 minutes 180 minutes Reporting is another area where Nagios XI is inferior to Snap. Report generation in Nagios requires the use of a report writer to generate reports on specific devices, alerts, and performance analysis. It is a multiple screen, multi-step process that takes time to set up and then generate the report. Nagios XI reports are heavily focused on node availability. Users can run a “report summary” of specific host availability as well as run nine pre-canned available reports, including a summary, event log, notification log, and bandwidth usage report. Nagios’ dashboards are another area where Snap has a comparative advantage. The main dashboard does provide information on the overall network performance state and alerts on performance issues. However, Nagios has no single, unified dashboard to understand network health on one screen. Instead, Nagios utilizes multiple dashboards that are categorized by the specific host or service group. Summary and Conclusions CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap is an easy-to-use and quick-to-deploy IT monitoring solution. Of the six solutions assessed, the Snap installation and configuration process was the easiest and quickest to get monitoring. There are several things that make Snap unique:  Monitoring functionality is hosted in a single, unified platform. It takes four SolarWinds products to equal the functionality in a single Snap platform.  Snap is free. Unlike the other vendors’ offerings, there is no 30 or 60-day time limitation.  Snap’s guided installation and configuration process was a breeze, allowing for the correct decisions to be made once at the time during initial configuration.  Snap’s drag-and-drop reporting made deep device reporting easy and quick to perform.  Of all 6 platforms analyzed, Snap’s discovery process was the quickest to identify devices and begin active monitoring. 6|Page
    • Minutes Download Installation Configure Discovery Total Time to Monitor CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap 11 min 22 min 5 min 5 min 43 minutes Table: Total Time to Monitor Solarwinds NPM Solarwinds Storage Mgr 10 min 65 min 30 min 15 min 9 min 45 min 45 min 15 min Solarwinds Virtualization Mgr 15 min 75 min 45 min 25 min 120 minutes 114 minutes 120 minutes Solarwinds SAM Nagios XI 9 min 45 min 40 min 20 min 15 min 20 min 120 min 25 min 114 min 180 minutes Graph: Total Time to Monitor 200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Snap SW NPM SW Storage Download Install SW VM Configure SW SAM Nagios XI Discovery 7|Page
    • Topics Description Appendix A: Comparative Benchmarking Results CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap Installation Configuration Ease of Use Performance Diagnosis & Resolution Integration Reporting Self Guided Support Support Community Notes Score Method of Delivery Trial Limitations Download time Installation Time Download Size Level of Installation Difficulty Total number of installation errors Total Time to Configure Ease of configuration 5 3 4 5 4 Unlimited for life Limited to 30 devices 11 min 22 min 1.8 GB 5 Overall Ease of Use Availability Score SolarWinds SAM Notes Score 3 5 4 3 5 30 day trial Full version, no limitation 10 min 65 min 540 MB 3 5 4 3 5 30 day trial Full version, no limitations 9 min 45 min 314 MB EASY; Wizard-based 3 Multiple steps 3 Multiple Steps 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 5 min 4 30 minutes 4 40 min 5 EASY; Wizard-based 4 4 5 EASY 4 “Intelligent” alert configuration MEDIUM; Prior IT mgt experience needed Manual, time consuming MEDIUM; Prior experience with IT mgt needed 5 EASY 4 MEDIUM 4 MEDIUM 5 5 MIN 4 15 Min 3 20 min 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 5 HIGHEST PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGHEST PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 IMMEDIATE 5 IMMEDIATE 5 IMMEDIATE 5 STRONG 2 PARTIAL (In Comparison) 2 PARTIAL (In Comparison) 5 5 5 Single, unified platform HIGH NUMBER OF REPORTS SINGLE DASHBOARD 1 4 5 4 separate platforms Several pre-canned reports OOTB Dashboards 1 4 5 4 separate platforms Tabular reports Static dashboards Guided support during installation 5 STRONG Wizards 3 Limited Installation Guidance 3 Limited guidance Support Community 3 Fast growing support community 5 Large & active “Thwack” support community 5 Large & active “Thwack” support community 5 Fastest time to monitor at 43 minutes (170% faster than Solarwinds) 3 120 (two hours) minutes from register to monitoring 4 114 minutes from register to monitoring 95% 109 Out of 115 79% 91 out of 115 79% 91 out of 115 Ease of reporting performance of components Network Discovery Performance Visualization Overall performance Dashboard performance Performance issue identification Guided workflow for problem discovery Level of unification Quantity of Reports Dashboards Total time required for Total Time To register, download, configure, discover, & Monitor TOTAL SolarWinds NPM begin monitoring Score Table Legend: 1= Least, 5=Highest 4 Notes
    • Topics Description CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap SolarWinds Virtualization Mgr SolarWinds Storage Mgr Installation Configuration Ease of Use Performance Diagnosis & Resolution Integration Reporting Self Guided Support Support Community Notes Score Notes Score Notes Method of Delivery Trial Limitations Download time Installation Time Download Size Level of Installation Difficulty Total number of installation errors Total Time to Configure Ease of configuration 5 3 5 5 4 Unlimited for life Limited to 30 devices 11 min 22 min 1.8 GB 3 5 4 3 4 30 day trial Full version, no limitations 15 min 75 min 1.42 GB VMware/ 1.4 GB Hyper-V 3 5 5 4 5 5 EASY; Wizard-based 3 Multiple Steps 4 30 day trial Full version, no limitations 9 min 45 min 314 MB windows Multiple Steps but straight forward 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 5 min 4 45 min 4 45 min 5 EASY; Wizard-based 4 Highly Manual, time consuming 4 Overall Ease of Use Availability Score 5 EASY 4 Multiple screens with dashboards 4 5 EASY 4 5 5 min 4 Data is there, overwhelming & difficult to scale back 25 min Manual, time consuming MEDIUM; Prior experience with IT mgt needed 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 4 5 HIGHEST PERFORMANCE 5 Ease of reporting performance Network Discovery Performance Visualization Overall performance Dashboard performance Performance issue identification Guided workflow for problem discovery Level of unification Quantity of Reports 4 MEDIUM 4 15 min Can force view into graphic format 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE HIGHEST PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 HIGH PERFORMANCE 5 IMMEDIATE 4 5 IMMEDIATE 5 STRONG 5 2 PARTIAL (In Comparison) 5 5 Single, unified platform HIGH NUMBER OF REPORTS 1 4 1 3 4 separate platforms Tabular reports Dashboards 5 SINGLE DASHBOARD 4 3 Static dashboards Guided support during installation 5 STRONG Wizards 3 Limited guidance 3 Limited guidance Support Community 3 Fast growing support community 5 Large & extremely active “Thwack” support community 5 Large & extremely active “Thwack” support community 5 Fastest time to monitor at 43 minutes (170% faster than Solarwinds) 3 160 minutes (2 hours & 40 minutes) 4 114 minutes from register to monitoring 95% 110 Out of 115 78% 90 out of 115 80% 92 out of 115 Total time required for Total Time To register, download, configure, discover, & Monitor TOTAL begin monitoring Score Took 5 min before data storage capacity was alerted Provides recommendations to remediate alert 4 separate platforms Canned reports; lots of data Includes Benchmarks; Too much data on one screen 9|Page
    • Topics Availability Installation Configuration Ease of Use Performance Diagnosis & Resolution Integration Reporting Self Guided Support Support Community Description Score Nagios XI Notes Score Method of Delivery Trial Limitations Download time Installation Time Download Size Level of Installation Difficulty Total number of installation errors Total Time to Configure 5 3 5 5 4 Unlimited for life Limited to 30 devices 11 min 22 min 1.8 GB 4 5 5 5 5 60 day trial Full version, no limitations 15 min 20 min 634 MB MSFT VM | Source Installer=36mb 5 EASY; Wizard-based 3 Multiple Steps 5 Zero 5 Zero 5 5 min 3 120 minutes Ease of configuration 5 EASY; Wizard-based 3 Overall Ease of Use Ease of reporting performance of components Network Discovery Performance Visualization Overall performance Overall dashboard performance Performance issue identification Guided workflow for problem discovery Level of unification Quantity of Reports Dashboards 5 EASY 4 5 EASY 3 Requires a report writer, multiple steps, slow report generation 5 5 MIN 4 25 min 5 HIGH VISIBILITY 3 LIMITED VISIBILITY of all Components 5 HIGHEST PERFORMANCE 4 RESPONSIVE 5 HIGHEST PERFORMANCE 4 Limited dashboard but responsive 5 IMMEDIATE 2 Slow to identify; Example took 10 min for alerting 5 STRONG 2 LIMITED 5 5 5 Single, unified platform HIGH NUMBER OF REPORTS SINGLE DASHBOARD 2 2 3 Requires additional modules (Fusion, XI, & Core) Uses report writing engine for all reports Limited dashboard to include system behavior Guided support during installation 5 STRONG Wizards 3 Limited guidance Support Community 3 Fast growing support community 5 Strong & active support community 5 Fastest time to monitor at 43 minutes (318% faster than Nagios) 2 180 minutes (3 hours) from register to monitoring 95% 110 Out of 115 70% 81 out of 115 Total time required for Total Time To register, download, configure, discover, & Monitor TOTAL CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap begin monitoring Score Notes Requires manual query development; manual alert generation without guidance Fairly easy to use 10 | P a g e
    • A Special Report by Apprize360 Intelligence for CA Technologies All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2013. Apprize360 Intelligence, INC. www.apprize360.com San Francisco, CA Info@apprize360.com