SCOM Review

It is a monitoring tool that looks after the vast majority of your private and even public cloud.

What is most valuable?

SCOM is a monitoring tool that looks after the vast majority of your private and even public cloud. In my experience having a good insight into specific product monitoring surrounding the Microsoft suite such as Exchange, Active Directory, Lync, SQL and the System Center suite is something that all my clients seek. For me the addition of Microsoft knowledge base articles that point to the cause, explanation and resolution to a product specific issue is invaluable and the ability to add your own knowledge base articles that specifically relate your environment is awesome!

How has it helped my organization?

Having a round the clock watchmen offers great peace of mind. Typically my organization uses it for monitoring our virtualisation environments specifically Hyper-V and VMware as well as all the services we run from it. We've had outages at two am and three am that was automatically resolved by SCOM saving us time and money. The saving came from not having to rely on highly priced out of hours staff to resolve any potential issues.

What needs improvement?

In the world that is monitoring, sometimes the decision makers want to see and hear all the issues that may occur during business hours (as well as out of hours) and (rightly or wrongly) SCOM gives you exactly that! Its revered to as an "Alert Storm". SCOM uses something called "Management Packs" and that is where the alerts come from, but, managing these can be a little convoluted to say the least, I'd like to see these made a little simpler but still keep the same functionality, basically these management packs need to become a little more user friendly. Almost always, these alert storms can put IT managers and operators off the product and give the impression that everything is broken or not working properly, so making them easier to work with will help SCOM administrators (especially if they are new to SCOM) manage and understand what the product is showing them.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it since 2007.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There were no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From a stability point of view, personally I've rarely seen SCOM fall over because of SCOM, I've seen SCOM fall over and die due to hardware issues, visualization issues or resource issues. But the good news is if you've setup SCOM correctly, the product will tell you why it fell over! This means that you can put the preventative measures in place to stop it happening again.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SCOM is "highly available" out of the box (those are Microsoft words not mine) but it really is true, so scaling your SCOM set-up is easy, just install more SCOM servers!

How are customer service and technical support?

I've had such a mix of technical support scenarios with SCOM it’s a difficult one to answer. Microsoft support of the product is pretty good, with regular updates and good internal knowledge and relatively fast response times. However, other vendors have created software the plugs into SCOM and support for these add-ons can differ wildly! But overall its pretty good.

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

Personally no, I stared in IT in 2007 and it's all I've ever used. However some of my clients have made the jump from other products to SCOM. Depending on their requirements, SCOM can offer a wide range of monitoring solutions and more often than not, it’s been a successful transition.

How was the initial setup?

It never use to be, but since the 2012 release the deployment side of SCOM was simplified greatly. This was obviously great news for I.T pro's like myself as the client conversation became a little more straight forward. However, installing SCOM was the easy part, making it work after the install is where the fun begins, this side of the setup however remains a little more challenging.

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