What is most valuable?
Full featured, non-java, agent based technology that allowed the user to install as many probes as needed on each server rather than trying to monitoring everything initially like other products do. Not being written in java allowed far greater stability as well as a smaller footprint when running on each server.
Agent and probe maintenance via the console was a vast improvement from other products that required software distribution systems or admin access on each server to maintain and keep probe and robot versions up-to-date.
How has it helped my organization?
We went from having fully 1/3 of all incoming alarms being about dead monitoring agents to less than 1%. You never want to be your own best customers when it comes to monitoring tools.
What needs improvement?
The VMware monitoring had quite a bit of room to improve. In very large environments, the VMware probe could not keep up with data collection and would often times fall behind – thus scaling was an issue. In addition, the ability to filter in or out which VMs you wanted to monitor or not to monitor was severely limited. The suggested configuration is to monitor everything using the rule templates that applied to every live VM managed by the VC. While this was simple to setup, we ended up alerting on VMs that were not in use.
Secondly, the lack of a robust out-of-box maintenance mode functionality might be a detractor to some new users. I had to build my own maintenance mode functionality using the enrichment probe in addition to some CGI scripts and SQL triggers to allow me to place monitoring profiles into maintenance. The default setting only allow users to place entire servers into maintenance. This was a problem for URL, DB, ping, and VMware monitors.
For how long have I used the solution?
I rate it 4.5 stars – one of the best server infrastructure monitoring tools I’ve used in the market.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
The deployment was extremely smooth. Installation was fast and simple. Configuration was mostly straight-forward with some hiccups where the documentation did not match the current release of probes.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability is exceptional. However, if you have unusual server configurations, Nimsoft may not behave so well – MS clustering. There also seems to be a bug where the entire Nimsoft Server config gets corrupted during a reboot. Support has yet to be able to track down the root cause of this issue. Recovery is annoying but simple is you’ve made a backup copy of your NMS config files.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
This tool scales very well in our environment of over 2K hosts and thousands of other profiles being monitored. As I said previously, only the VMware probe has scaling issues.
How are customer service and technical support?
When they were still Nimsoft, customer service was outstanding. After CA’s purchase, support quality dropped as they lost qualified engineers. Technical Support
Technical support is currently average. You have some support folks who really don’t understand the tool due to lack of experience and training and others who are veterans of the tool and pretty much can fix anything. It used to be stellar before the acquisition by CA. Attrition of good talent is to blame again.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We previously used BMC ProactiveNet. Nimsoft shines like the sun compared to ProactiveNet with night and day differences in stability, scalability, functionality, features, and quality of support. Nimsoft was also considerable less expensive to monitor the same component infrastructure.
How was the initial setup?
Base install was very simple and took place in under 8 hrs. Configuration was more complex since we were replacing an existing monitoring tool with Nimsoft. For a green-field environment, configuration would be a breeze for the core probes. Config can be done via GUI of directly editing the config files by hand or via custom scripts to do bulk adds.
What about the implementation team?
We used a Nimsoft PS vendor working on conjunction with our in-house ESM engineers.
What was our ROI?
With the very low costs for Nimsoft along with the greatly reduced maintenance cost, ROI was realized in just under 2.5 years. This is not to mention the unquantifiable benefits of a better scaling and more stable and highly functional tool replacing one that was not consistently delivering monitoring reliably.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
IBM Tivoli Monitoring
SolarWinds APM in conjunction with NPM (we ended up buying NPM for all network monitoring)
What other advice do I have?
Make a conditional contract such that Nimsoft develops a fully functional maintenance mode UI that allows not only servers be placed into maintenance, but also different monitoring profiles and components like URL, Ping, individual VMware guests, SQL instances, etc.
Also consider using something else to monitor VMware.