5 Capabilities of Systems Management Software
The Factors to Consider When Evaluating Systems Management Software Vendors
October 25, 2010
Alex Bewley
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The following are 5 factors to consider when evaluating systems management software vendors:

1. Dynamic and Complex Applications

Applications are becoming dynamic and complicated. Can your monitoring and performance software handle them? Historically, it has been fairly easy to monitor applications. Today, applications are increasingly componentized and are being abstracted from the underlying hardware platforms with the prevalence of virtualization technologies such as VMware, Hyper-V, AIX LPARs, and Solaris zones. It is now incumbent on systems management vendors to understand these virtualization technologies in great detail and how they impact application monitoring and performance. Systems management and application monitoring tools should make application monitoring easier, not more complicated.

Systems management tools should understand both application performance and availability as well as application transaction monitoring, to give a true end-user point of view. Together, these give a clearer picture of application and service delivery. However, your software must go deeper and provide the ability to monitor all the bits and pieces of infrastructure that play a role in the application delivery. This includes deep metrics on hardware, multiple platforms, physical infrastructure, and even dynamic environments.

2. Heterogeneous and Changing Environments

Heterogeneous platforms (Virtual, Physical and even Cloud) are the new normal. Most mid-enterprise IT departments are dealing with hardware platforms of many vintages and architectures. Virtualization and cloud computing add further complexity to the mix. When evaluating systems management software, companies must ensure they are capable of monitoring heterogeneous platforms and ever-changing environments.

The key is to have everything in your “Single Pane of Glass” IT Dashboard. This includes all your physical, virtual, and even cloud applications and infrastructure. For example, ensure your systems management software deeply monitors all your in-house physical systems (including IBM POWER, Solaris SPARC, and x86) all the way down to the resource level. The same dashboard must give access to your virtual environment as well, including deep metrics on VM guests to optimize performance and help identify instance contention. Lastly, your tool must be able to monitor cloud application and platforms from within the cloud and link that data back into your “Single Pane of Glass” IT dashboard.

3. Future Proofing

Are you future proofing? What about new technologies? Virtualization was and continues to be a big disruptor in technology, yet it took vendors years to understand how to effectively monitor virtual environments. With the advent of cloud and its adoption, a very similar problem is occurring again.

As technologies change, make sure your systems management tool is ready to grow with you. Safeguard your company by choosing a vendor that is progressive and is diversity-friendly. There will always be diversity in IT environments and platforms, so pick a vendor that thrives across many different IT environments. Don’t get stuck with software that only monitors and manages one platform.

4. Fast Deployment

Can you quickly evaluate and deploy? Time to deploy is critical for every IT manager. Companies want the ability to evaluate software and deploy at their own pace without having to rely on a full-time administrator to install and support the new software. Is the solution you’re evaluating going to save time and costs associated with deploying new software?

5. Try Before You Buy

Trial, trial and trial – before you talk to salespeople. Don’t get caught being sold through fancy demos, vapor-ware, and PowerPoint’s. Trial the tool. See what it does and how it acts in the environment. If the trial is complicated, frustrating, and doesn’t do what you want, don’t expect the purchased tool to be any better. Make sure the systems management tool is the right fit for your environment, and fully trial the software before getting too far in the buying process.

Try before you buy. You won’t buy a car without a test drive, so get behind the wheel and take the software for a rip around the track!

About Alex Bewley

Alex Bewley, CTO of uptime software, co-founded the company in 2000 and has been instrumental in the development of their up.time software product. Bewley is a computer scientist with a B.Sc.H in Computer Science from Queen’s University.

Related Links:

www.uptimesoftware.com

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