What is our primary use case?
In the beginning, we were looking to use it as an IPAM device but we saw all the benefits in having control of the assets, the racks, and how the physical servers are connected to the switches. We set up our data center with all the racks inside and all the devices inside the racks.
So at first, we used it for IPAM, but after that we constructed the building with the rooms and the racks. So IT inventory is the second purpose of this tool. We use it to track how VLANs and our different virtual devices are connected and to inventory VMware and Xen virtual machines.
But the main purpose is IPAM and inventory of the physical devices. In the case of networking devices, we are using SNMP, and with virtual devices we use an administrator-user to check different aspects of the ESXi in VMware.
The solution itself is a virtual machine over a SAN server and it's running in our data center.
How has it helped my organization?
We were working with Excel sheets and they were not automatic and were difficult to administrate and update. It required manual work every time we needed to add new hardware or new virtuals. With the automatic discovery in the tool, we have been able to leave these Excel sheets behind.
The continuous asset discovery is great. For example, a few months ago we installed new racks with new servers and, with automatic discovery, all the new racks are showing inside the tool. The people who have a password to get into the tool can check what kind of hardware was installed and how many virtual machines are inside the servers. That's great.
The solution's CMDB, ITAM, and DCIM features create a single source of IT truth in our environment. For us this has had a very good impact. It's easier for our managers and others who consume this tool. We can show to the rest of the teams how things have become more visible throughout the company.
Device42 has also saved us a lot of time, not necessarily in managing the devices but in collecting the devices. And with the inventory tool, we discovered that we have a lot of old things configured in the devices. That saved us a lot of time because, for example, we had old VLANs around that had been forgotten. With the tool, we can discover which devices have old configurations and we can remote to them and remove these configurations. If we didn't have the tool, we might have to go into each, device by device, numbering in the hundreds or thousands of devices, and check if they have this configuration in them. But with the Device42, we have this information in a few minutes. A task that might take two or three hours a day can be achieved in 40 minutes.
In security, we can check specific things that have to be configured in devices. While the security team is not 100 percent involved in the project, they have started to use the tool to check different security things on the networking devices. With the inventory check, they can see if a specific configuration in various routers has already been configured.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is the part that enables us to draw or build our rack and represent all the devices and interactively click on a physical device to "see" inside it. We can see the virtual machines inside a given server and all the details about them, with the storage connected to them, etc. From a global, data center perspective, you can see the rack and you can click and see all the virtuals running inside. That's a cool thing.
Overall, the automatic IT asset discovery is very comprehensive.
The solution's agentless approach to asset discovery is very important for us because installing agents on physical or virtual devices is not easy in our company. We have to escalate these kinds of things to different levels of security. Not having to install agents makes it easy for us.
What needs improvement?
While the automatic IT asset discovery is great, the first time using it can be confusing when you are configuring the SNMP. I don't remember for sure but I don't think it said "SNMP community," it said "password". The first time I used it I was thinking about communities but the tool said "password," and when you say "password" in SNMP you are thinking about SNMP version 3. This is the only thing that is confusing, although there were some devices that were not included in the discovery.
For how long have I used the solution?
If we count the PoC time, we have been using it for about one year.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
For us, it's very stable.
There were some problems at the beginning because the Xen server was not supported. We started with VMware, but we were migrating from that where to Xen. But the problem lasted for two days and then we fixed it quickly.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We haven't reached the solution's limits. The solution's collectors give it very good scalability because you can separate the manager from the collectors.
We continue to check its capabilities. We plan to expand to another, small data center, a location with, say, 10 racks, with a rack dedicated to communications — such as a firewall, router, and switches — and the rest of the racks for servers. Expansion depends on the plans of our regional offices in other countries. The idea is to test if we can install info-collectors in these offices to give us information about their assets. We are planning these kinds of projects. Maybe we can expand our usage in this way.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support is very good. The support person we talked with was very kind. For example, we opened a ticket for a specific case and the support person who took the case explained more than we asked about. That was good.
How was the initial setup?
The setup was easy. We are used to using these kinds of tools — not specifically inventory or IPAM tools — but we have installations of solutions that collect things and give us information. So for us it was very easy.
The PoC was ready within one week, where the data was in the system and we got information from it. In production it has taken more time because we have different kinds of devices and every device or every brand requires a new configuration. For example, HPE enclosure devices take a lot of time to configure, although VMware was easy to configure as were network devices. But when you move to a new brand you may have more complex tasks to do.
When we did the PoC, we focused on it as an IPAM solution. In the PoC we saw the benefits of the hardware inventory. So we changed plans in the middle of the PoC. When we focused on IPAM at the beginning, everything looked fine, it was quick. But when we saw that the inventory is available in this tool we moved the PoC toward the hardware inventory. So the deployment took more time than we planned because of the change of plan.
What about the implementation team?
What was our ROI?
We have seen ROI because it saves us a lot of time, and time is money.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
For our budget it's okay. It's not an expensive tool, although we are not used to paying for software because we are using a lot of open-source software. But within our networking budget, we needed an IPAM and it was easy for us to justify this kind of tool, given its cost.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We evaluated KiwiTech, but only for IPAM. We also checked out some free tools.
The main advantage of Device42 was the ability to have IPAM and another solution in the same tool. The rest of the vendors had different tools for different purposes. There were different KiwiTech tools for IPAM and for hardware inventory. It's not easy to administrate four or five tools. It's easier to administrate only one tool. This was an important advantage for us. Also, the discovery process was very easy with Device42 and more complex in the other tools.
What other advice do I have?
Test it. You may discover that tools that you hadn't thought about. As I said, we tested it only for the IPAM, but we saw that we also needed the hardware inventory. If you do a PoC, you may discover that you need other features that are part of Device42.
The biggest lesson I have learned from using this solution is to stop using Excel sheets. That was number-one. And the visibility that we have made available with Device42, to the rest of our company, has had a very positive impact on our team.
In terms of the automated asset discovery, we have had to configure and customize some things because, for us, some aspects of the virtual machines and the physical devices are important and these were not reflected in the inventory. Since then, everything has looked good. We achieved visibility of all the parts that we need to see.
There are five administrators using Device42 in our company. These five participated in the development of the solution in our company from the beginning and they maintain it. There are also three networking guys, two sysadmin guys, and the rest of the technical area's team members are users, including security and security compliance users.
I would rate Device42 at seven out of 10 because we need to fix it to find the devices that are not discovered.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?