Monday, June 28, 2010

Facts and Fiction & Ten Steps To Make The Right Choice…

Normally I do not post much about differences between MPs from different suppliers. But now I feel I have to since some customers of mine started to ask questions about this document.

Being a consultant for SCOM I do not only advise on how to implement a SCOM environment for any given customer, but also advise on what MPs to use. And for this I also refer to third party MPs since many times customers need additional functionality in SCOM for which non-Microsoft MPs are needed.

For a long time I advised Jalasoft MPs for monitoring network devices since – until recently – they were the only viable option. How ever, for some months now this has changed and a new player has entered the market. Which is good. A bit healthy competition keeps every one sharp and delivers the customer more choice.

Do not get me wrong, Jalasoft is still a valid option. But with the new Network MP delivered by OpsLogix, there is just more to choose from. For one customer the Jalasoft will do and the other the OpsLogix Network MP will do.

But what worries me here is the way the earlier mentioned document ‘compares’ both MPs. It is like me being at a customer who wants me or another company to implement SCOM for them and asks me whether they should choose for me or the other company. Guess you already know my (biased) answer… :)

Same here with the document. Just know from what perspective it has been written. Do not take all for granted. TEST both MPs in order to get the best solution for your environment and situation. How to do that? Well, a bit like these Ten Steps To Make The Right Choice:

  1. Write down the models/types and amounts of network devices to be monitored by SCOM R2,
  2. Write down WHAT you want to be monitored by SCOM R2,
  3. Write down HOW MUCH money you want to spent, or are ALLOWED to spend on it,
  4. Check the websites of both vendors,
  5. Contact both vendors and ask them what you want to know (This is also a great test for how their support is being run),
  6. Ask the vendors what the costs will be of all needed licenses (Do NOT forget the hidden costs like adding an additional server when Jalasoft is being used) and compare them to step 3,
  7. Download trial versions of both MPs and install them in the SCOM environment,
  8. Look how these MPs integrate (some more, some less) into the SCOM (test) environment,
  9. How easy (or not) they are to operate/configure and how much the ACTUAL costs of operation – in time – are going to be,
  10. Experience the ‘Look & Feel’ of both MPs.

When you run through these ten steps you are bound to get it right.

My personal experiences?

Well, to be frankly, when I implement SCOM many times the new users are a bit overwhelmed by the power and the interface of SCOM. Which is normal since SCOM is not anything like Notepad but an ENTERPRISE monitoring solution. Which takes time to understand it.

So when SCOM is implemented I like KISS (Keep It Simple St..). When a customer wants to monitor network devices and Jalasoft is being used, it adds an additional server and an additional interface. Also more changes for things to go wrong. OK, the support of Jalasoft is really good, but it still makes SCOM more complex where the OpsLogix MP integrates into the SCOM Console and needs no additional server(s) nor additional interfaces. All is done from the SCOM Console itself with some add-ons.

Yes, Jalasoft can monitor many things more deeply and detailed. But when all these extra things are not needed, why add an additional server and interface to manage? KISS is the magic word here.

On top of it all, the costs are also important here. And to be frankly, OpsLogix is way much cheaper compared to Jalasoft. One gets more for less money. And now, with the recent economic ‘events’, budgets have become more tight then before.

The last thing I want to mention is the SNMP module OpsLogix introduces, in order to replace the SCOM R2 SNMP module, which is way much more robust. Which is also very important for the total health of the SCOM R2 environment.

I won’t go further by telling what comparisons in the earlier mentioned document are totally correct or not. Because that is just my personal opinion. Just experience it yourself, first hand.

The choice is up to you what MP to use.

So when you want to make a choice, do it based on a test situation. Not a document like the one mentioned before nor this posting of mine. Use the Ten Steps To Make The Right Choice and be happy…

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