Thursday, June 28, 2012

OM12 Network Monitoring: The Basics & How To Extend It

As we all know in OM12 network monitoring is totally rewritten, from the ground up. Why? Let’s take a look in the history of OM12 and network monitoring.

The Dark Ages 
Network monitoring in SCOM (R2) wasn’t that good. It wasn’t even basic, it was outright wacky. When ‘too’ many network devices were being monitored by a single instance (like a SCOM R2 Management Server) it could seriously wreck that server. The Health Service would ‘consume’ all resources like CPU and RAM, no matter how beefed that server was, causing that very same SCOM R2 Management server to stop functioning.

MPs which depended on that ‘functionality’ too much (like the earlier versions of the Dell MPs) could wreck the SCOM environment without being the direct cause of it. All because of the wacky network module in SCOM (R2).

Gladly there were multiple third party solutions on the market which solved that problem. Some free (xSNMP MP Suite) and others paid (OpsLogix and Jalasoft Xian Network Manager). Every single product had it’s own audience so every product had its market share.  I have used them all in different scenario’s.

Back to the Future (and present)
Even though the network monitoring module in OM12 is totally new and way much better compared to the SCOM (R2) version, it’s still a basic module. But there are multiple reasons for it:

  1. Let’s get a good foundation first
    Microsoft wanted to get network monitoring good in OM12. So therefore they decided to rewrite it from the ground up and get it right from the start. Therefore they made sure the foundation of network monitoring in OM12 is good and will fit the bill for the time to come. Because without a good foundation, nothing will hold.

    When you ask me, they succeeded here for a full 100%.

  2. OM12 is NOT a full bred network monitoring tool
    This basically means  when you want to monitor your network deep down to the bone, OM12 out-of-the-box won’t deliver that. Instead it will deliver enriched monitoring of your whole environment, including the network devices. It will show how the monitored servers relate to your network topology with the vicinity dashboards. OM12 will do that automatically for you.

    Also it will show detailed information about the monitored network devices themselves, using some good dashboards. For me a dashboard is only good when it shows relevant information with a single glance. And IMO, Microsoft succeeded here big time.

So network monitoring is growing up in OM12 and delivering a platform for future extensions. I’ll bet more and more network devices (brands, models etc etc) will be supported in the near future. Which is a good thing for sure.

I have OM12 and need REALLY deep network monitoring
So this is your situation. You have OM12 in place which is the primary monitoring tool. All other monitoring tooling (if any at all) will be phased out. Now you want deep network monitoring and OM12 won’t fit the bill here. Is there any way to solve this ‘puzzle’? The OpsLogix and xSNMP MPs won’t do here anymore.

Based on the information I have (and please let me know when I am wrong here) at the moment there is ONE solution available which will integrate perfectly with OM12 and deliver really deep network monitoring: Xian Network Manager for OM12. This tool is also rewritten in order to work seamlessly with OM12. On top of it new features are added, like (but not limited to) monitoring NetFlow.

Price Tag & Seeing is Believing
Jalasoft Xian Network Manager for OM12 is a 3rd party solution which comes with a license model of it’s own. So it’s up to you to decide what additional investments are justified to get to that level of deep network monitoring. However, other (non OM12 integrated) network monitoring solutions also come with a price tag. Nothing is for free any more these days :).

The good news is however that you can put Xian Network Manager for OM12 through it’s paces: you can test it for free for 60 days with full functionality. During that free trial period you can monitor (and report upon) 10 network devices.

This way you can see whether Xian Network Manager will deliver what you ask for. And you have all the time to get a good quote based on your requirements and specifications.

Want to test drive it yourself? Go here.

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