What is our primary use case?
We use SevOne to manage about 10,000 network devices on our system. We monitor those devices with all the performance data, run reports, and see alerts. We have a manager of managers that sits above SevOne that actually displays all of our alerts, does some correlation and other things. We also provide some maps and reporting.
How has it helped my organization?
SevOne also enables us to detect network performance issues faster and before they impact end-users. We were monitoring the load balancers on our backstage passes for access to the network. And we can see, it went from around 3% to around 75% over a couple-of-week period where they had to send in all the remote access and change everything. SevOne really did a number for us, during the pandemic, of isolating which load balances were overloaded with users working from home. So that right there, was worth its weight in gold, because the management created all these reports for load balancers, for access for remote workers, and that's all they focused on, for a couple of months. So that was nice.
It has saved at least 50% because if we're just using ping and a couple of other tools, you can't really see that, all these devices went down at the same time, that segment, or that peer.
What is most valuable?
Data Insight reporting tool is the most valuable feature. They came up with it a couple of years ago. The most pleasing factor is the dark theme. You don't have a white background. It has templates that you can create for all kinds of reports that you can hit on the fly. It has a much better printing of the reports. If you want to send PDFs to people, the reports are actually decent. Whereas for years, the old architecture of the PDFs was rubbish and even our customers said, "We have to manipulate your PDFs because they all have bad margin breaks. SevOne fixed that a couple of years ago with the new Data Insight. It's fantastic. I would say the reporting of the new Data Insight is my favorite feature.
We also have the Wifi Controller feature and we're starting to turn that up. That's going to be nice because we're going to be able to monitor wifi. Our group used to monitor wifi, about 10 years ago, maybe even longer, and then they took it away and gave it to Cisco Prime LAN. And they come to find out that Cisco Prime wasn't monitoring it as well as they thought. So we got some quotes from SevOne for a wifi solution, and now we're implementing that. We're excited about the wifi solution.
We also use NetFlow and Databus. It's not that new, maybe five years old. But everybody's starting to get on board where we just send our raw data to scientists. They correlate all the data into how they want to report on it. Those are a few of the new things that we like to use.
I would rate the comprehensiveness of SevOne's collection of network performance and flow data a ten out of ten. I've used Concord and eHealth before this. I used HP OpenView for 15 years. Right now, SevOne is top-notch for me because it's an all-in-one package, and it's easy for the operator to learn. If I can learn it, anybody can learn it. But it has a lot of features underneath that. I am one of the admins, but we have some really top-notch programmers that go in and get that in-depth data. I operate as an admin, I help people out, create policies, and everything. But when it comes to the in-depth stuff, I leave that to the scripters. I'd rather just click on the GUIs and let somebody else scrub through the comments.
It's extremely important that SevOne's collection abilities cover multiple vendors' equipment. We have F5 Firewalls, Palo Alto load-balancers, intrusion protection devices, ClearPass servers, Aruba, we got it all. SevOne has a good process. We also like the certification where we get the MIBs and the OIDs from the customer or the vendor. And they say, "We'd like to monitor this CPU key performance indicator." Or "These HC octets and the interfaces. If it's above 80% we want an alert."
With the vendors, we just take a new vendor like Aruba, they'll want to monitor the fan speed or whatever, we'll take that OID and send it to SevOne. Their certification team is top-notch. They have a 10-day turnaround, but for us, they always provide it quicker. We tell the customer 10 days but we sometimes tell the customer too, that they're always quicker. And they always are.
The process is easy. As long as the homework is done ahead of time, either by us or the vendor, we just provide SevOne with the OIDs, they provide us with a file, and we import it into SevOne. We apply it to the right vendor and all our key performance indicators are there. It's wonderful.
We're also just starting to monitor software-defined and streaming telemetry-based networks in our environment. We got a new manager and he's been pushing it. He loves SevOne. We use Data Bus, NetFlow, and we're doing the telemetry stuff. I don't really understand it, but we're working with some scientists on ride controls, to send them that data. When they started doing this, I told them "You better get some sharp people down here." And they did.
The manager is a great manager. He's holding everybody's hands to the fire, and I got a bunch of burn marks on my hands. But we're getting progress. SevOne was great, but we weren't taking it to the next level. And other people were coming up with other tools, saying "This tool does this." And we said, "Well, SevOne does that, if you want us to do a proof of concept." So we've been doing all these proof of concepts.
In the old days, reports had nice baselines and stuff that we could use for deviations. With the new Data Insight reporting tool, now we have percentiles that we could have in the old ones, but when you had a reporting tool that wasn't that good, you're not real excited about baselines and stuff.
With Data Insight, we can see baselines and deviations. We can decide how many deviations we want to view. We can do percentiles. We can do time over time, and the graphing in which you can separate the graphs. Data Insight is a game-changer for reporting.
You can look at the reports and it's just a picture, so your brain can say, "Whoa, that's out of normal. There's the baseline and there's somebody making a backup in the middle of the day or something." So, the out-of-the-box reporting is very nice. Every time they upgrade us, they upgrade Data Insight and they add more templates that their team has decided that the crews could use out there. They're great. I always see the new templates and I just copy it all over to my environment and change the names so people don't see.
The dashboards are fantastic. I don't use them as much as I should. I just started creating some. I'm doing it in the new Data Insights. You can customize it to your customers. We don't do much of that because we don't have a big enough crew to manage all the users out there, there are hundreds of users. And if we had to be their reporting gurus, we'd be hung up all day long, just clicking on reports for people.
I love the dashboards because you can put it all in the front. You can have heat maps on the CPU. If you want it to have a dashboard for all of F5 you could just have the dashboard for F5 and say, "Hey, we're having CPU problems. I just want a heat map. Show me something red that I can click on and go troubleshoot." It's so nice.
What needs improvement?
There are a lot of pain points. My main problem is that we don't have a high availability system. There are 20 peers. We're going to lose the end-of-life appliances that are old. If we lose a peer and it doesn't come back, we lose all that data. The reason we don't have high availability is because it's double the charge.
I wish there was some way that we could just get a snapshot of our system so that if one of our peers failed, we could go through the process and get it back to where it was. If we built another peer, and it took us four days to build another peer and get all the firewall rules and everything it would be nice when it came back if we had a snapshot that said, "Hey, peer two, that died." Then can we just slap all that data onto the new peer two and have all that historical data, as opposed to just importing it new, and it wouldn't have any data from the past. That's kind of a pie in the sky thing. But I would like some kind of backup system.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using it for about eight years now, which is actually a long time. Usually, our applications come and go.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is dynamite. We are having some issues in our VM world, where we don't have visibility to our peers that are out in the VM world. Sometimes our teams might get a peer locked up or whatever, but it's never SevOne's problem. When we had our appliances, it was rock solid. There were no issues with SevOne. You had a disk array and if you had a disk that went bad, you just ordered the disk and dispatched somebody out. I'd give them a positive as far as stability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability seems to be incredible. We're adding peers one after another. We got the wifi solution and then we just added four new peers, two on the east coast, two on the west coast of the United States. We just order more peers and get them built. SevOne sends us the OVA files. We install it, we open up a case of SevOne. They help us bring it into the cluster. And boom, we've got another whole peer ready for another 1000, 2000 devices. So its expandability is very nice, much better than OpenView and the other things I worked on.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We previously used HP OpenView. That was my thing. I liked it because of the maps, you could have all kinds of cartoons and stuff in the background. That was fun for the graphic artist people. SevOne just blew HP OpenView out of the water.
We had four servers and around 10,000 devices out there and we just couldn't handle it, it was just too much for HP OpenView. HP OpenView stagnated because I used it for about 15 years, and the last five years it looked like it was dying on the vine, with the support and stuff. They changed systems and our people in charge of budgeting and projects, decided not to go the route that HP suggested and went the SevOne route, which I'm glad they did.
How was the initial setup?
I was the sidekick for the setup but it seemed to be pretty easy. I had installed, from setup, HP OpenView systems with four D80 servers around the world. The SevOne environment was pretty good. We were small at the beginning.
Without the planning and everything, just when we got the devices and turned them up, it took around a week or two. We were in our own little lab, testing.
We had a database and we were taking Cisco devices first. Once we had all key indicators identified that they wanted to monitor, we did it. Then we slowly brought in each vendor with the certified files and checked them as we imported them. It was a good plan.
What about the implementation team?
We've used SevOne any chance we can get. We call them in all the time. They have a really tight relationship with my boss. They bring them in whenever there are questions on anything. And their support team is fantastic. We open up calls and get our tickets taken care of nicely.
What was our ROI?
SevOne is definitely earning its money because different departments are requesting SevOne monitoring for certain situations. And it's extra-billing, of course. I never see any of it, I just see the devices and we add them and we charge them. So they're bringing in money.
They're getting their money back.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
They were constantly looking at other products. I don't look at them. I don't even have time to think about other products. They looked at NerveCenter but NerveCenter is different. My customer is constantly looking for other replacements that are cheaper. Everybody's looking at their budget and asking "How can we get cheaper?"
At one time they suggested ThousandEyes. It's much cheaper and easier. Well, they had ThousandEyes monitoring a little section of their network and they realized that there's no way ThousandEyes can do it. It's just too big of a network. ThousandEyes can do little stuff but overall, I work on changes all the time and I do my SevOne stuff, and the guy does his ThousandEyes stuff and his stuff is not quite right.
What other advice do I have?
My advice would be to read the PDFs they have and then look at the videos on YouTube. That's what I do. I'm not a voracious reader, but I go to YouTube a lot.
I would rate SevOne a nine out of ten.
Which version of this solution are you currently using?