Yesterday, I was going through the list of vendors in our space, checking out websites and seeing who had anything that was notable or really interesting. About halfway through, I noted that there are an awful lot of vendors that have monitoring solutions, and since I always looked at them as sort of a commodity, I'd never really bothered to count them.
It turns that out on our list, we have 20 21 vendors that have at least one monitoring solution--out of 100 vendors! Without a doubt, they all have their differences, but it stands to reason that many of them fall into the category of a YAM (Yet Another Monitor). Talk about overwhelming! That number doesn't even include all the other types of Virtual or Datacenter Management packages, of which I think there's easily another dozen.
Remember, our list of vendors only contains companies that are known to be targeting the application and desktop delivery space. There are many more companies with monitoring solutions targeting other areas of the enterprise and data center that also just happen to work with application and desktop virtualization. If we counted the monitoring vendors at VMworld (all we'd need to do is list companies targeting "cloud" to find them), we'd probably have another 10 or 15. That said, here's our list:
- eG Innovations
- Ingenica ManageView (they also own UniPrint)
- Liquidware Labs
- Quest (they have 950 apps - one has to be a monitor)
- Symantec (they have 951 apps - one has to be a monitor)
- Terminal Services Log
- XTS Inc
The list would've contained 23 names had I written it a few months ago. Liquidware Labs acquired both vmSight and Entrigue this year, each of which had their own monitoring solution.
With so many of these companies out there and with so many different ways of actually collecting and reporting the data, I don't envy anyone looking for a monitoring solution from scratch. You could end up with a few solutions based on separate use cases, or you could end up with one overblown solution that does way more than you actually need (and might not even do exactly what you need). Granted, some of these solutions, Liquidware Labs, for instance, exist for a different purpose than simply monitoring your environment or root-cause analysis, but every one of them has a niche or two where they claim to excel.
For me, 95% of the time, I prefer simplicity. For years as an admin, I had a box dedicated to WhatsUpGold (there's another one! 22 now.) sitting next to me that I paid no attention to unless it made a siren sound indicating that something went wrong. The other 5% of the time, though, I was in CYA mode. Since our technology is horizontal across all the systems that affect the user experience, we're always the first ones to get the call that something isn't right. That's when my A needs C'd, and that's when some of the more robust monitoring packages come in handy. But is that a reason to have two packages (or one that you only use 5% of the time because it's too complex to use all the time)?
I believe that monitoring is important, but to what degree? I'm sure many people are happy with Perfmon or a solution that just looks at Perfmon counters, but that limits you to Windows. Others prefer an SNMP or agent-based solution that goes above and beyond the normal monitoring capabilities of your systems, and that allow you to get a more holistic view of your systems.
So I'll ask you: What's important to you in a monitoring solution? What factors did you use to make your decision? Is it based solely on your application and desktop delivery needs, or is it more of a big picture thing where the entire IT department is involved in the decision? Let me know what product(s) you use and why you chose (or didn't choose) a certain one. If you don't want to leave a comment, I'd still love to hear your thoughts, so email me at email@example.com.