Operations Bridge Review

Good event correlation capabilities, promotes a self-service approach to monitoring

What is our primary use case?

Operations Bridge is designed primarily for large enterprises with highly complex monitoring and service quality demands. These may include legislative requirements.

OpsBridge is a scalable, integrated solution to monitoring geo-diverse, very large infrastructures and applications on a worldwide scale.

OpsBridge actually consists of a suite of products that are installed separately and integrated together under the "Operations Bridge" banner. The full list of products in the suite is here: https://docs.microfocus.com/it...

SiteScope SiteScope: 2020.10 Express, Premium, and Ultimate
Application Performance Management 9.51 Premium and Ultimate
Business Process Monitor 9.53 Premium and Ultimate
Cloud Optimizer 3.04 Premium and Ultimate
Containerized Operations Bridge 2020.10 Premium and Ultimate
Diagnostics 9.51 Premium and Ultimate
Operations Agent 12.15 Premium and Ultimate
Operations Bridge Manager 2020.10 Premium and Ultimate
Operations Bridge Reporter 10.50 Premium and Ultimate
Real User Monitor 9.52 Premium and Ultimate
*Data Center Automation 2020.08 Ultimate
Operations Bridge Analytics 3.05 Ultimate
Operations Orchestration Operations Orchestration: 2020.08 Ultimate
Universal Configuration Management Database Universal CMDB: 2019.11 Ultimate

How has it helped my organization?

OpsBridge has good event correlation facilities and root-cause identification algorithms. This can reduce the number of alerts that an operator sees, potentially improving operator efficiency and reducing the "cost-per-alert".

To achieve this though OpsBridge depends on accurate topology mapping, i.e. it needs to understand the dynamic relationships between items being monitored. Maintaining this can demand additional software.

As owners of the Vertica database, MicroFocus can exploit this technology to improve the handling of the vast amounts of monitoring data that its enterprise customers generate.

What is most valuable?

Event correlation is useful. The increasing use of a common "data lake" approach to monitoring and other ITOM disciplines could be useful, but it is resource hungry and not capable of being cloud-hosted (at least the last version I worked with wasn't).

OpsBridge also promotes a service-oriented approach to monitoring, which is valuable for larger MSPs.

What needs improvement?

Better distributed monitoring - "proxy" monitoring whereby a small device can gather metrics and alerts on behalf of the main management server would be useful. At last use, this architecture needed an additional full-function server at extra cost.

The solution is overall "heavy", requiring multiple servers, even without HA. For instance, a full OpsBridge deployment of all the products in the suite can demand upwards of six servers or large VMs (8+ CPUs, 32+GB RAM). 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Operations Bridge for a significant number of years, from the days of OpenView Operations. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did not use another solution previously, although I do have experience with other ITOM products.

How was the initial setup?

Installation can be conventional or container (Docker) based. This gives the potential for auto-scaling and resilience; however, the last version I used (2019) was not able to exploit the full benefits of containerization. In either case, installation needs very careful planning - which is good as it focuses the mind on what needs to be monitored.

Consider OpsBridge as being the "SAP of ITOM". It requires dedicated resources to configure and administer.

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

Licensing is still difficult to comprehend despite numerous improvements over the years and it is easy to incorrectly license the product. This should be improved. My advice is to do your licensing estimates very carefully.

As OpsBridge is a suite of products bundled together, you may find yourself paying for software functionality that you don't actually use, e.g. Real User Monitor (RUM).

Don't forget the cost of maintenance and support starting in year two and onwards.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As part of forming Nobius, we performed technical and business reviews of many monitoring solution tools

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is implementing this product is to engage with MicroFocus professional services if you want to implement effectively.

Don't under-estimate the need for formal training. New customers will not get the best out of OpsBridge by flying solo from day one.

OpsBridge is powerful, comprehensive, and well suited to organizations with the budget to justify it. Its service-driven approach is good and the increasing inclusion of machine-learning features is welcome. Don't underestimate the amount of hardware needed to run the full suite on and plan that into your project.

If necessary, validate its suitability for running on a cloud environment. Earlier versions c.2019 didn't fully support installing on AWS or Azure.

If you are considering MicroFocus OperationsBridge, run it as a major project with a fully-resourced project team and associated budget.

With great power comes great administration !!

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I am a former pre-sales specialist covering the ITOM solution set in MicroFocus. I now own an IT monitoring business.
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