10 March 2016 blogs Matthew Carr 5 min read
Since the inception of Savision in 2006, we have been a proud Microsoft Gold ISV partner in the System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) space. We have seen SCOM become one of the leading component and application monitoring platforms in the market, plus the range of Management Packs available from Microsoft and other ISV partners, has made SCOM a highly extensible product to monitor different environments, and different situations. SCOM is a real tough cookie and with a bit of expertise can, and has, been tuned to monitor anything from email servers, heating and power usage within the data-center, and even hospital medical equipment.
With building such a complex and robust solution such as SCOM, means it has become a bell-weather of the IT Operations industry, a “jack-of-all-trades”. It is essentially capable of monitoring everything from Microsoft technologies; Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange, Hyper-V but also there are add-ons for Unix, VMware, Cisco networking, and large Enterprise Applications such as Oracle & SAP. However, there are other monitoring platforms that are more specialised in specific areas. Savision has been talking with our worldwide customer base and we have found some common monitoring platforms that are being used besides SCOM to complement and improve the all-round visibility of their IT environment.
SolarWinds – Best for Network monitoring
SolarWinds was founded in 1999 in Austin, Texas. They have been proving to be very popular within the technical community, because of the ease of use of their core product “Orion” which works right out-of-the-box. SolarWinds really specialises in Network Performance Monitoring (NPM), and they are a long-term partner of Cisco Systems, so have deep and rich features that highlight network problems which are still a principle cause of business downtime. We see that more and more SolarWinds NPM works beside System Center and they have developed a strong partnership. Furthermore Solarwinds has been growing impressively in the past years, with their affordable pricing model and fast paced development that for the first time has placed the company as the best able to execute in “Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Network Performance Monitoring & Diagnostics”
Nagios XI – Best for Unix monitoring
Nagios is based upon an open-source framework which was originally designed to run under Linux, but it also runs well on other Unix variants. It is a free software, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2, as published by the Free Software Foundation. Since 2007, the company was formed in Minnesota, and offers an Enterprise Addition called Nagios XI which offers a paid version with more features. Many organisations today run a mix environment within their datacenter of Windows and Unix servers, so it seems natural to use different monitoring platforms that were purposefully built for the operating systems that they run on. Particularly in Europe, we see many customers using SCOM to monitor the Microsoft stack, and Nagios side-by-side to monitor Unix and applications running over it, such as Oracle or SAP.
And then, there’s Azure
SCOM was built for agent-based server monitoring, now more commonly configured as the “Private Cloud”. With over 50% of enterprises now deploying a Hybrid Cloud, many Microsoft users have extended their footprint across into Azure. However, SCOM was not really built with the Public Cloud in mind. There are still some blackspots remianing in what SCOM can “monitor” caused by the fact that Azure is an abstract entity in itself. Offered as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), it is possible to place a SCOM agent on a server, but Azure as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) flavours are harder to monitor from SCOM as there is no particular named physical server providing the service. This has led to a plethora of new monitoring tools that specialize in monitoring applications running over the Public Cloud of Azure, AWS and others. These monitoring tools are built for Cloud-first services and work best besides a Private Cloud monitoring tool such as SCOM.
So, lets visualize the layers of IT infrastructure and how these different monitoring tools can be used in practice. This is just one example of many possible different combinations:
In summary, the modern enterprise has a complex mix of infrastructure and application components that have specific domain features. This has led to an increase in the monitoring tools needed within an organisation to provide complete coverage of these different layers, and to ensure that the enterprise can continue to operate and innovate in a competitive environment of technological change.
Would you like to learn more about ‘The Challenges of Managing IT in a Hybrid Cloud World’, then download our free whitepaper. Our whitepaper outlines a framework for approaching IT management that combines excellence in IT Operations with a strong focus on business impact of IT systems.
About Matthew Carr
Savision’s Business Intelligence Manager
Matthew is a Business Intelligence Manager at Savision. After having spent over 6 years at Cisco as an Accountant & Revenue Specialist, and 3 years at Clever Communications & Belkin as a Finance Manager, Matthew entered the software community in January 2011 when he joined Savision. Here, he is responsible for growing the Savision reach through tech and commercial partnerships. Matthew is a graduate from the University of Manchester and is also a chartered accountant.