What is most valuable?
SCOM features object-based monitoring based on classes and discoveries and it gives you a lot of power and flexibility when you design and implement monitoring. For the advanced users you have full freedom in creating your own custom monitoring solutions with Visual Studio, but there are also a lot of production ready monitoring packs from Microsoft as well as 3rd-party providers that are easy to implement.
How has it helped my organization?
I've done multiple implementations of SCOM and once you have it technically tuned, have your methodology and processes implemented it really makes a difference in how aware Operations becomes and how fast they can discover and act on incidents both pro- and reactively. Distributed Applications enables you to give developers and business valuable insight into their IT infrastructure.
What needs improvement?
Reporting could be improved, you get many reports out-of-box but they can be difficult to interpret and drill down into. You can build custom reports in report builder or Visual Studio but both alternatives are difficult to use, not well documented and requires extensive knowledge of the SCOM databases.
For how long have I used the solution?
Besides managing other System Center products SCOM has been my main focus for 9 years.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
SCOM is very easy to deploy and get running, most of the work is tuning management packs together with subject matter experts and in bigger organisations you have to put work into establishing methodology and processes.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Since the original version of SCOM 2007 a lot has happened in the code base, SCOM 2012 R2 is a very stable and reliable product.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I have not seen or heard of scalability issues with SCOM, the infrastructure is distributed and can be tailored to your needs at any time.
How are customer service and technical support?
If you have a Microsoft Premier agreement (which is my only experience) you get a lot of valuable attention from Microsoft. They help you do service checkups of your installations, give you valuable advice and are generally available when you need it. Technical Support
My experience with Microsoft support has been good, Microsoft has different tiers of support but they are all very professional and if something needs to be escalated it will get the necessary attention. I've had a few complicated issues in the past that I could not solve myself which got solved by the help from either entry and senior level support.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I've had some experience with SiteScope and other in-house monitoring tools, I've also seen but not worked with a couple of other monitoring tools so I do not have the means for comparison.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is straightforward and easy to understand, the first thing you do is size your enviornment and do all the preparations after that installing SCOM itself is very easy.
What about the implementation team?
My very first implementation of SCOM 2007 was togheter with Microsoft, other than that I've done the implementations myself.
What was our ROI?
ROI is difficult to calculate with a product like this but being able to monitor your infrastructure is essential at any rate.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Licensing is based on how many and what type of agents you have installed, in my experience it is difficult to calculate licensing and pricing without help from Microsoft.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Since the organisations I've implemented SCOM in have been mainly Microsoft and Windows based choosing SCOM and other products from the System Center suite has been a natural choice.
What other advice do I have?
SCOM is a great monitoring tool if you have an enterprise level infrastructure that you need to monitor and manage, it's mainly designed for Windows but it does have cross-platform and network monitoring support something which Microsoft keeps expanding. It is technically easy to implement and maintain but it requires an initial time investment for tuning and customizations.