Device42 Review

Continuous auto-discovery keeps infrastructure data up to date, enabling us to mitigate faster if a security patch is needed

What is our primary use case?

Our use case for Device42 is to capture all our infrastructure in a single tool. We need the ability to have that view of where our infrastructure is: servers, storage, network equipment, and applications sitting on top of servers. Our use case is to have that single pane for where all that is.

How has it helped my organization?

When we're doing patch management or when we're reviewing kit (end-of-life), it gives us the ability to manage the data center from a desk. Before we had Device42, we'd have spreadsheets or somebody would have to continually to go to the data center and physically have a look at what's available where. If somebody bought or wanted to buy new kit — if they needed, for example, six U's of space, 10 network ports and five power ports — we'd have to visit the data center and have a look at where we could fit that in. With Device42, we don't need to do any of that. We just need an internet connection to get to the Device42 appliance and we can see where the space is and what the power availability is, as well as what network capacity we've got, in which rack. Everything is there.

The continuous discovery of the infrastructure means we are able to review, and we are able to mitigate things in a quicker fashion than we would have previously. If somebody had asked us five years ago how many Server 2008's we have, because we've got a vulnerability and we need to know how many servers we need to patch, it would have taken us some time to find that out. We would have had to go through all the different platforms and find out where we're hosting 2008 Servers. With Device42, we can go in and, within 10 minutes, tell the business how many servers we need to patch.

Also, the solution's CMDB, ITAM, and DCIM features create a single source of IT truth in our environment. These too make it a lot easier for the operations team. When incidents come up on the operations monitor, that team can easily ascertain who the owner is of these devices, where they sit, and who's responsible for them. They ensure the correct people get things looked at much quicker.

In addition, we're currently on a cloud project, so we have been using the solution to assess what we have in our environment, what we want to take to the new environment, what we need to drop in terms of hardware, the age of the hardware, as well as end-of-life operating systems or applications. It has helped us a lot with getting that kind of data.

We use the solution’s Application Dependency Mapping and that gives us some insight into a number of things. For example, if we're looking at a server that currently has a problem, the operations team can look at the Application Dependency Mapping and see what the server is part of in terms of the service. There may be a number of things that are connecting to it or that it's connecting to. That mapping gives us that insight into how parts of the infrastructure are talking to each other.

Previously, when it came to asset management, people would have been updating spreadsheets or documents about where they've moved things or what they've been doing, or they would have had to visit multiple areas to find out certain information. Device42 turns that into a hands-off approach to everything. We know it has been doing discovery continuously over evenings and weekends. So whatever data we are pulling out is fairly up to date. The time saved by using Device42, across the teams, is easily equivalent to a couple of people at least. A full-time member of staff would normally work seven-and-a-half hours every day so you're looking at 146 hours a month of savings, times two, of people not having to visit data centers to do things like capacity planning, auditing, etc.

We also use Device42 for internal audits. In that context, it saves a considerable amount of time. If we were to do it manually, we're looking at a couple of weeks' worth of work, but if we're doing it in Device42 we're probably looking at a couple of days' worth, maximum.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is its ability to auto-discover a lot of the infrastructure, without having to manually put everything in. The auto-discovery is brilliant. You can have it scheduled to run on a regular basis, and the infrastructure is always getting updated within the platform. I would rate the asset discovery very highly. It's very comprehensive. It covers quite a lot of different methods for doing discovery and it supports a lot of different types of hardware as well.

The agentless discovery is the one thing that makes this a brilliant tool. The fact that you don't have to deploy an agent onto anything and you can do discovery directly through the appliance, just with credentials, is what really makes it stand out.

It's also easy for everybody to go into it and search for something, and the searching is very quick as well. You can get to get the information very quickly.

What needs improvement?

Room for improvement would be in the discovery. Although the discovery it does is really good, there are certain elements that could be better in terms of a deeper discovery. An example would be teaming on Windows Server. It doesn't currently pick up that functionality well. 

Also, the dependency mapping can be quite slow sometimes, if you've got a lot of things connecting to services. It can be very slow to build up the map. 

The certificate management could also be a little bit better.

Finally, it would be good to introduce a mobile app. At the moment, you can connect to the web interface through your mobile and select a mobile view, but it's still very much a desktop view on your mobile. It's not very mobile-friendly. So it would be good either to have a mobile app, or a specific mobile endpoint on the web front. You would visit a separate URL or it would detect that you're on a mobile and rearrange the view to be mobile-friendly, like dynamic websites do at the moment.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Device42 for about five years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. We've never had any stability issues with the appliance where it continuously goes down or anything like that. We've not had a problem with that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, there could be improvements. Currently, the scalability is only upwards. You have to increase the resources that you apply to it. You can't have multiple instances of the same thing. You can't scale horizontally; it's just vertical.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. The engineers are knowledgeable and they respond in a very timely fashion.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward but, at the same time, depending on your business and the complexity of the infrastructure, it can become complex. Not the actual implementation of Device42, but to get Device42 to the point where it can do the discoveries on your infrastructure can become complicated, depending on how your infrastructure has been set up. But to actually get Device42 up and running, in terms of just the appliance, is very easy.

Our deployment took six to eight months. Getting the appliance running was very quick, but to get all of the integrations done, and working with all the different teams to allow the agentless discoveries to happen, and configuring firewalls, policies, etc., it took that long to get it all in place and to make sure that the data that we're capturing is actually useful and correct.

The implementation strategy was quite straightforward because we didn't have anything else before. We started from scratch to capture everything, starting from the network layer and going up to the server storage layer, and then the application layer.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed it ourselves.

What was our ROI?

Effectively, we didn't have a product before Device42. But with it, we're looking at a reduction in terms of man-hours to manage IT infrastructure and do asset management. That's where the return on investment has come. 

Another part of the return on investment is when a vulnerability comes out. With this solution, we can identify the machines very quickly, rather than having an engineer sitting there for a whole day or two working out what needs to be done. An engineer can go through Device42 and spend half an hour to pull a report.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We pay annually for our licenses, which includes core, the Application Dependency module, and software discovery.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated two or three other options on the market. At the time, we chose Device42 because of its effectiveness in actually discovering the infrastructure. The second reason was the cost and the third was its ease of use.

We looked at RackTables, OpenDCIM, and we looked at another one from BMC and, for asset management, we looked at ServiceNow.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I would take from using the solution is to have an understanding of your infrastructure so you can better plan how you implement Device42. As with anything, there are obviously limitations as to what it can do. Sometimes there are certain politics within your business that may stop you from getting the most out of Device42.

Also, although we didn't actually do so, I think it would be good to have a close relationship with the vendor of Device42, at the implementation stage. Our relationship has matured and been built post-implementation of Device42. It's going to be beneficial, for anybody who wants to put Device42 in, to get the vendor onboard before you implement it.

I don't think Device42 has really affected our environment's security posture, as long as we understand how Device42 is doing these discoveries. We actually have Device42 in a fairly locked-down environment. Only certain teams have access to it because of the sensitivity of what's inside it. On the flip side, it provides that single pane of glass. You could say that there is a higher risk with it because we now have one place in which all the information is held. But I think the benefits outweigh that little bit of risk that we've taken on by having all the information in one place.

In terms of people using Device42 as a platform, we're somewhere around the 50 or 60 mark. They range from service desk analysts who use the secrets vault functionality, to the infrastructure team — system engineers, network engineers, infrastructure architects, network architects, desktop engineers, database administrators. Those are the kind of people who tend to use Device42's core functionality which is asset, infrastructure, and data center management. The secrets vault is spread across our whole department and the infrastructure side is heavily used by the infrastructure teams, which includes my team, systems, the network team, and the architects.

Deployment and maintenance are quite lightweight. To manage the whole thing you only need one or two people, and they are spread across the different teams in our environment. We have one person in the network team and one in the systems team to ensure that things are ticking over and for planning upgrades.

Our environment is not massive but it's not a small environment. In terms of what it costs us to run Device42, we find it a very good value for money. We will definitely be using it for the foreseeable future and our plans are to extend its usage into the cloud where we are already capturing things. But we want to make the visibility of cloud resources in Device42 much better. Device42  are improving cloud discovery as well. The way we've got it set up, it doesn't give us the same visibility that we have on-prem. So we want to start working on making sure that the visibility of our cloud deployments is just as good as we have on-prem, with deep discoveries, etc.

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Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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