An Interview with Nimsoft CEO
November 01, 2010
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In BSMdigest’s exclusive interview, Gary Read, CEO, Nimsoft, discusses Business Service Management in the public cloud and CA’s acquisition of Nimsoft.

BSM: What should a company look for in a public cloud provider when it comes to monitoring and performance management?

GR: Technology, business models and services that meet the needs of the way that they do business.

For technology, security and capabilities are key. Security in access to their monitoring data and system information appropriate with their business and regulatory requirements is a start. The capability to expose monitoring and performance management information matched to the cloud workload is another. Many cloud providers expose information for basic server metrics. This is fine for simple workloads and for standard multi-tier web applications, but not enough for transaction and performance critical enterprise applications or enterprise services such as email and databases. Organizations should make sure that the monitoring and performance solutions enable them to support the workloads they intend to place in the cloud environment.

Business model and services needs to be matched to this technology. Service offerings should include the option to tailor the monitoring of server instances and whole IT service workloads to the applications that will be hosted in the cloud environment. Pricing should match the required functionality level.

BSM: Why are legacy monitoring tools unable to handle the cloud?

GR: To underpin a cloud offering such as Amazon, Rackspace, online games, etc. it’s a combination of pricing model, architecture and offering set.

Pricing for typical legacy monitoring tools is quite high, typically comprising large fixed per server costs as well as heavy integration requirements.

The architecture also has to support automation, be lightweight on the cloud environment and have broad technology coverage. Although these characteristics are inherent in Nimsoft’s solution, legacy products typically have silos of functionality, and so require multiple, un-integrated solutions; heavier requirements for implementation, architecture and resources; and don’t have the focus on workflow and automation across multiple monitoring and performance management disciplines that make them suitable for cloud environments.

For monitoring of cloud environments for customers that use these services, it’s a matter of agility and offering sets. New environments are appearing every day, and without an architecture that enables quickly adding services and offerings, there simply isn’t a way to add the required functionality. In addition, a complete view of an enterprise is needed, otherwise monitoring for the cloud functionality is in a silo with little meaning to the IT context in which it needs to be viewed.

BSM: Is Nimsoft meant to be the alternative to CA’s product offerings, for a totally different customer base?

GR: Yes, Nimsoft products are the cornerstone in CA Technologies strategy to provide IT management solutions to service providers, emerging enterprises and emerging markets.

BSM: Is being a part of CA helping Nimsoft accomplish goals that would otherwise have been more challenging?

GR: Absolutely – it’s been fantastic. With our goal of growing our business with service providers, and in emerging enterprises and markets, the acquisition has enabled us to invest in key development, marketing and sales resources to make strong progress in these areas. In R&D we have added members across the board so we may deliver on some aggressive plans. In the field we now have more feet on the street and we are taking Nimsoft now into Latin America and Asia Pac and Eastern Europe.

BSM: What new functionality does your recently released Unified Monitoring Portal offer?

GR: The Unified Monitoring Portal (UMP) provides a major improvement in how Nimsoft delivers performance and availability metrics to our customers. Our customers are now able to drive their own Nimsoft look and feel by customizing their portal in a way that makes sense to their business. Customers are able to use the out-of-the-box views or create in minutes their own service views from the data extracted by the on premise or on-demand solution.

With UMP, Nimsoft customers can provide Web 2.0 “portlets” to each client that is relevant to their operations. These portlets are JSR compliant and can be shared with other web portal platforms.

BSM: What new types of functionality are your customers asking for the most?

GR: We are hearing more requests to expand our VoIP platform support, which has historically been limited to Cisco. Also, we recently announced support for Vblock and all its associated parts and we see a demand for the other Vblock competitors like Matrix from HP, Windows Azure Appliance and SMT alliance.

BSM: What does the near future hold for Nimsoft?

GR: A few key thoughts come to mind.

1 – Utility computing is here to stay. Amazon led the way for offering compute power with on-demand pay as you go pricing. It’s time the rest of the market caught up. A CIO has a fixed budget to support the business with IT. He needs to place his compute needs in the hands of the best provider available to him. He want to minimize his capital expenditure and up front goes and consume compute power units as he uses them – but with no surprises. Just like how utilities are provided today to the household.

That’s why Nimsoft embarked a year ago on out Unified Monitoring strategy. First, we needed to have the scalable architecture with simple to use and deploy API. Next support for all of the platforms available to a CIO (Amazon, Salesforce, MS Azure, Google App Engine, Rackspace cloud, Vblock and the like) plus have the development model to adjust to new trends as the market demands. Now that this is in place, we have launched a new capability to prepare us for the “usage billing” requirements and that’s Usage Metering, Usage Mediation and Usage Billing. So both our on-premise and on-demand solutions are now able to measure the usage of our solution or the activity or an IT component by the hour and then mediate that raw data to provide the ability to create custom, real-time and hard copy usage bills and insight into IT performance monitoring. IT utility metering is here and offered by Nimsoft.

2 – We have been busy localizing our products across a number of languages so Nimsoft is ready to step into some new markets and expand our coverage. So as of October 1st we will have local presence in Latin America, Singapore, Australia New Zealand, Japan, China, India and other markets.

3 – SaaS. It is now recognized by many as the way to offer an IT service. So with our NOD we are now able to offer this light-footprint service to our customers. We are seeing amazing interest in this alternative and some new prospects of course prefer this model. So we see this delivery method continuing to expand in the future, and we predict some migrations from our on-premise and some hybrids from our MSP partners, who will offer both solutions to their end user customers.

About Gary Read

Gary Read is CEO of Nimsoft, a CA Technologies company. A 20+ year high-tech veteran with extensive expertise in monitoring and systems management software, Read also served as VP Sales and Marketing at RiverSoft and BMC Software, and held sales and marketing leadership roles at Boole & Babbage and MAXM Systems.

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