What is our primary use case?
We use the product as a network monitoring system. We have ten people who are using the system from the admin and end-user level. The platform is used daily and we are looking at extending it to other areas of the business to do different types of monitoring. We have dashboards that we put up that we leverage off and we want to get more systems incorporated.
How has it helped my organization?
OpManager allows us to customize the views better than previous solutions that we were using. This helps us target exactly what information gets to the people who need to know it.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature so far is the net-flow analyzer, which works exceptionally well. We have only just started playing around with the apps monitoring portion, but this seems like it will provide value as well. Beyond that, the ops manager portion, the monitoring in general, and the dashboards are all really excellent. The entire solution is very user-friendly. As the IT Manager, I don't have too much time to go investigate how things are running on the system. This is a solution to that problem.
What needs improvement?
The for the areas that can use improvement, I would say furthering the abilities of dashboard customization and enabling workflows into other systems. I think we could get much more out of the solution with greater flexibility. If we could customize access further and allow people to enhance role-based access, it would keep people focused on their tasks and the specific things they need to know. I think that is the only other thing I would like to see in the system. Now there are only two views: an admin role or a view role. Roles are fixed in the extremes and there is a middle ground that isn't served by either.
When you look at the price of the system, it is exceptional and a real value for money. However, it lacks strong local support. I can't blame the company because it is a new product, but that is one addition that would be very useful.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using the product for a year and a half now.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The system is quite stable. Since we have had it implemented, I have not had a single day of downtime on the system. Even when it comes to upgrades there was no downtime. These guys do an excellent job of testing enhancements and upgrades, so it is seamless to deploy new versions.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I think the product is extremely scalable. We have actually gone from two thousand nodes up to five thousand nodes and there was no issue in scaling up. We were simultaneously looking at the HA solution at the time and even when upgrading two things at the same time, there was no downtime for the system.
How are customer service and technical support?
In South Africa, the OpManager system is fairly new. With the current support structures in place, the support team is exceptionally helpful and they try to go the extra mile. However, I don't think they are as experienced with all the components of the system as the users would hope, so it makes installations a little bit difficult. They do escalate to external teams when it is necessary and warranted and we do get assistance when the local team cannot handle a problem. So from that perspective, I think they do an extremely good job in making sure that we are functional and that we have the contracted level of support. I do not think it is an entirely personal preference to assume that the local vendors would have a bit more knowledge about the products in order to support us properly and efficiently.
Regardless of any and all issues, support normally responds promptly (within a couple of hours). It is simply not desirable that the actual issues can take a few days to get resolved.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We previously used the Microsoft SCOM platform. The product was not very easy to configure. It is tedious and you need a lot of experience to get it done. That difficulty was the reason we moved away from it as a solution.
How was the initial setup?
Installation was pretty straightforward. We did get assistance from the team locally assigned to assist us, but the majority of the work was done within our internal IT team.
What about the implementation team?
We did initiate the implementation ourselves but we were, at times, assisted by our assigned team.
What was our ROI?
We had a return on investment almost immediately in that a consistent up-time has been easier to achieve. Alerts come through faster. Our staff has the ability to look at the dashboards and put things in place to make sure we don't have outages of the same sort. Previously on SCOM, it wasn't easy to manage and monitor the system. If you had to understand what an alert meant, it was very difficult. Now, the operator can click on the alert and immediately get details of the problem. Then they can drill down to get a solution very quickly.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
As far as cost, it was around six hundred thousand rands ($40,500) for the year, for the renewals. That's the total cost for a four thousand node system including support and maintenance. If there is any additional development required, then that comes at an additional cost. We have not really customized too much. The one change we requested was added to the subsequent release. They built the resolution specifically for us and it didn't cost us anything and went out to all users who may have been experiencing similar issues.
What other advice do I have?
I would rate the product an eight out of ten. The reason for that is that it is an exceptional value for the money. It may not be the absolute best, but it is certainly better than most solutions and the price differential is significant.
It is a good idea to get both the application monitoring package and the Ops Manager. They compliment each other, so I would suggest buying both.
With regards to the implementation, I would suggest making use of an implementer even though it is an easy system to implement. An implementer will have the experience to do the implementation according to standards and proper architecture. This will save you from errors, speed the implementation, and keep you from wasting time doing things over again. We did the original implementation ourselves and then we had to re-build and do things all over again because we didn't have the knowledge of the package. It did work eventually, but it would have worked much more efficiently if done correctly the first time.