What is our primary use case?
We mainly use it to keep an inventory of everything, because we've got 77 offices and data centers globally. We use it mainly to keep track of assets we have in cabinets and the like. Also, some of the other teams use it for the auto-discovery and license renewals. Device42 tells you when a license is about to expire on a server.
I'm sure there are a lot more uses but because I work in data center management, and from my side we mainly use it just for inventory. We're aware of exactly what we have, where it is, whether it's powered on it, whether it's in service, etc.
How has it helped my organization?
Before Device42, the company didn't have any kind of asset management software at all. So if there were to be a fire in an office, for example, and we would want to make a claim on insurance, we would have had no idea what, exactly, we had in that office. Now that we have Device42, we're integrating every single office into it so we know exactly what's where. That's a huge improvement.
It has also reduced the amount of time spent on managing our IT assets. It has probably halved the time it takes to do the management side of it.
What is most valuable?
I think the auto-discovery is very good. It works well. I don't use it too much myself, but from the feedback I get from other teams — they use it a lot — it seems to work really well. From what I understand it's very comprehensive because it picks up everything: all the IP address ranges and locations, as long as we've input the devices correctly. It is very comprehensive and picks up a lot of stuff.
Also, the continuous asset discovery is good because it means not having to manually input all the small data, such as IP addresses, leases, etc. It helps and saves us a lot of time.
The DCIM makes everything easier. If we need to do something remotely, or if we need to get an engineer out to a comms room somewhere, we can tell them exactly where it is, what it's called, and what's patched into it. It ensures that people don't make mistakes.
What needs improvement?
The overall speed could be improved. Sometimes it's very slow to do certain functions. General navigation is quick but if I want to delete an asset from a cabinet it does take a while. And if I'm doing it in bulk — say, for example, if we have one cabinet that has 20 servers in — if I want to remove all 20 servers, I have to do them individually, which is a bit time-consuming. If there were a way that I could just bulk-remove everything from there, that would definitely save some time.
Also, I know there is a function where you can add cables in Device42, as in you can say: So-and-so port on this server is connected to this port on that server, for example. But that's quite a drawn-out process, trying to use the spreadsheet just to add a single cable. I think that could be simplified a lot. You could just have a column for the device name, the port, and the end-device port. If it could be populated that way it would be a lot easier. At the moment, the spreadsheet that you have to use to add cables has a whole bunch of columns which I think are irrelevant and shouldn't be there.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using Device42 for about 18 months now.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is good. There have been a couple of times where it's been down for maintenance, but it's never down for too long.
I believe Device42 has some software where it clears out old or redundant stuff after a while. We've had it happen that things we put into cabinets have suddenly disappeared. However, I'm not sure if this is actually a Device42 issue. It might be somebody on our end doing something wrong.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
From what I understand, it's very scalable. It's very easy to scale up on it as well. But it's more the app team that would know that kind of stuff. I deal more with the DCIM stuff.
It's being used very extensively in our company. As I said, we've got 77 offices globally and about half of them have been populated fully in Device42. The rest still need to be audited, so we are going to be increasing the usage of it. It just takes a bit of time.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support is excellent. I've used it a couple of times and it is really good. They always reply very quickly and they always give you a very simple way of doing what it is you need to. I would give technical support a 10 out of 10.
What was our ROI?
We have seen ROI with Device42. It might not be easy to see but, for example, when we have had stuff go down we now know exactly where it is so we can fix it a lot quicker. Before, we might not necessarily have known and would have had to do a lot more searching. There's definitely a return on investment in that sense, but I can't really put a monetary value on it.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Before Device42 we trialed dcTrack for a little bit, but it was over-complicated in terms of usability. You would really need to do a training course on how to use it properly, whereas Device42 is a lot more user-friendly. So we ended up going with Device42 because a lot of people in the company do you use it. It's not like it's a select few people. Most people have access to it: the server teams, the network teams.
Device42 is user-friendly in terms of navigating through all the pages. Everything's very simple. If we want to find out, for example, what we have in a comms room in Bahrain, we just click on the Buildings tab, scroll down to Bahrain, and it will have the comms room on there. We can then have a look. Whereas with dcTrack, doing that was a lot more complex.
What other advice do I have?
Be very thorough with it. Make sure you put in everything you need to put in and make sure the auto-discover function works properly.
The biggest lesson I've learned from using Device42 is the importance of keeping it up to date and taking out redundant stuff. Especially with the auto-discover, if I've decommissioned something but not taken it out of Device42, the auto-discover will still think something is there and that creates a bit of a problem for us internally.
In my department, there are only two of us in data center management. But the whole network team use Device42, as do the whole server team, as well as security and the app team. Company-wide, some 150 to 200 people have access to it. I'm not sure how many of them actually use it often; probably about half that number.
In terms of updates — as in if we get new assets coming in or coming out — that's mainly my thing. In terms of the monitoring side of it, that would be the network team. They use SolarWinds, which is linked and will alert them if any device has gone down and that is linked to Device42.
Also, any time we do an audit of IT assets, the results are updated in Device42. We try to maintain a complete record of exactly what we have, although that's proving a bit difficult in certain offices which are harder to get to. We have offices in places like Ecuador and Chile and we're having to rely on people onsite, but there isn't always an IT presence there. We're having to rely on general office staff to try and give us an audit of what's in there. So from our side it might not be fully comprehensive.
I would rate it at eight out of 10. It's very good but it's not perfect. Nothing is. I'd probably give it a ten if it were quicker at doing certain things or if certain functions were more simplified. But it's a very good product.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?