HelpSystems Intermapper Review

It tremendously cuts down our troubleshooting timeframe, but needs advanced SLA monitoring and reporting

What is our primary use case?

We are a service provider. We operate a Juniper-based IT NTLS core, and we build access utilizing different technologies for getting connectivity to the customer.

How has it helped my organization?

It tremendously cuts down our troubleshooting timeframe because any problem can be traced. You have access to a portal, and in the portal, you can see just all of your devices. You can basically have devices broken by different groups. You can see devices with some minor or major alarms. You can see devices in the complete down state. If you see any device in a red state, you can just simply click on it. It will take you right into a map, and you can see what the problem is. In real life, you can see if it is an access network or a core. It is one of those features for which we should say "wow" to HelpSystems Intermapper.

What is most valuable?

What is really cool about HelpSystems InterMapper is that because of its SNMP base, you can integrate all different makes and models on the same map. You, of course, can have more than one map, but you have an option to have visibility into the entire network from one centralized system. You can monitor IPs, routers, radios, DC power plants, and UPS. You can do it all from one network management and monitoring solution. That's what really makes HelpSystems Intermapper great.

Another great thing about HelpSystems InterMapper is that you can really bundle different probes under one device. You can have a bundled device. You can monitor the physical status of a host based on the IP availability. You can also monitor services and actually see if anything happens. You can quickly determine whether it is the application layer, host layer, or network layer.

HelpSystems Intermapper gives such a unique representation of a network. Ever since we started using HelpSystems InterMapper, we don't have to document everything in a detailed format and store it somewhere. Right now, it is really a combination of network topology, network monitoring, and network analyzing. So, in my opinion, it is awesome.

When you have your SNMP topology defined, you don't require a dedicated NMS engineer to manage your system, which is another great thing about HelpSystems InterMapper. I see how our operators get so excited by having the ability to map a device or interface and connect interfaces together.

HelpSystems InterMapper is also very operator friendly; not just user friendly, but also operator friendly. This is a unique feature, and it works really great.

What needs improvement?

They can do a better job with SLA reporting. It does some basic reporting, but it really doesn't offer the ability to monitor devices by groups, customers, or carrier to give an overall health performance of specifically-defined environments. That's where HelpSystems Intermapper could have done a better job. 

I would love to see advanced SLA monitoring and reporting in this solution. They already have a lot of ingredients. They already have SNMP polling. It is really about what people are looking for from SLA monitoring, especially someone who looks at the network topology. You want to see your endpoints. You want to see half of your endpoints by simply analyzing ICMP or SNMP-based availability of your endpoints. Having an ability to define your group and how you bring devices into your group would be a huge benefit.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using HelpSystems Intermapper for the last 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It depends on the environment. If you put an SNMP base and it's an SNMP-based solution behind a stateful firewall, you will see an issue, but it isn't an issue with HelpSystems InterMapper as such. You need to have proper environment sources. If you put HelpSystems InterMapper behind a fast network and do basic inspections and filtering, I would say it is extremely reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I didn't have problems with its scalability. We have managed to go from about 100 devices to almost 4,000 or 5,000 devices, which is a pretty good number. What makes it cool is that you don't have to build everything in one environment. You can develop different tabs, and you can add device maps, for example, by a geographical area. You can break these maps by functionality. You can create maps for your IT group and your enterprise customers. You can also create maps for customers to whom you offer managed services with UPS, firewalls, and Wi-Fi. 

We have 20 or 30 users of this solution. Some users have just web access. Our support team has read-only access to HelpSystems InterMapper, which is the web-only access that is required to see a device in the red state. People can look at it quickly to get an idea about the uptime and some indication about the power issues.

It is used quite well in our organization. By having access to HelpSystems InterMapper, our support team doesn't have to really escalate too many tickets. We have a team for building new sites and keeping their eyes on our current sites. We have an engineering organization that is responsible for core maps and assisting the operators and support teams with different maps.

If you put some energy into it, you can create a lot of reference points in HelpSystems InterMapper. You can put information in the cloud and use it for the circuit ID in HelpSystems InterMapper. You can have an escalation with a circuit ID at the click of a button. You don't have to go and start looking up different records.

With carrier maps, you can create all of your nodes. Earlier, you had to go and search through the back of a system. Now you just click on it, and it takes seconds for an operator to see the flashing device in the carrier list, like the Verizon carrier map. You can click on the flashing red device and get the circuit ID for the flashing red device. Similarly, you can click on a carrier icon, and get the carrier escalation. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is pretty decent. I would probably rate them a seven or an eight out of ten. When you have some simple and straightforward questions, you get answers in a very decent timeframe. We had escalated some issues related to a reporting server or application, and we were not fully satisfied. They were okay. They weren't great.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was simple.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution, but it really depends on what you're looking for. HelpSystems Intermapper is more like a network topology tool in my opinion. This solution is more relevant for service providers, like SP organizations. That's where it helps as compared to other systems. You can take different environments for other systems, for example, Azure can be extremely important for intensive application monitoring. 

For a company for which I build the network, we had the IT system and homegrown systems. Some homegrown systems were SNMP-based, but we didn't have an SNMP system admin. We just had a person who was responsible for utilizing different applications, such as KRTG or Cacti. There was a lot of struggle in dealing with all these systems. These systems weren't exactly network interactive. It was back in 2002 or 2003 when I became familiar with HelpSystems Intermapper, and it really got my attention right away. You could see live networks and live devices. I like HelpSystems InterMapper ever since.

I am kind of a huge fan of this solution. In my 15 years of managing different software, I feel if InterMapper had a better SLA reporting and monitoring feature, it would have been especially awesome. It is almost perfect.

I would rate HelpSystems Intermapper a seven out of ten. If somebody would pay attention and add advanced SLA monitoring to the map, it would be a nine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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