SevOne Network Data Platform Review

Helps with troubleshooting and capacity planning, customizable reports, friendly and responsive support

What is our primary use case?

SevOne is used mainly for network monitoring. In my company, there are different services that include mobile data, voice, and broadband. SevOne is being used across all of these three services, and it also covers our corporate network.

SevOne is also being used for business reporting and capacity planning.

How has it helped my organization?

SevOne provides a comprehensive view of network performance data. It supports multi-vendors out of the box, which is very good. In 90% of the cases, new devices are plug-and-play, so when a new version comes out then SevOne has support for it out of the box. This is the case with either network monitoring or NetFlow data. In the worst-case scenario, they have an open framework that we can use as the next step. It helps us to get it up and monitored fairly quickly.

The ability to support multiple vendors' equipment is very important. In fact, it is one of our top priorities because this compatibility saves us time and money, as we are able to get new equipment set up quickly and without much effort. That's a key thing for us.

I'm not able to quantify our savings in terms of monetary value but in an ideal scenario, we save two weeks of time. When we add a device, we get data out of the monitoring points. Nine times out of ten, SevOne works immediately. In the exceptions, we reach out to the vendor to clarify what they need from an SNMP point of view. After that, we take it up with the SevOne certification team. With any new vendor that comes up, SevOne provides a 10-day SLA for the free certification. That's a pretty good saving.

It is very important to us that SevOne supports streaming telemetry-based networks. As with any other company, our network is evolving and we are moving towards telemetry. We are in a pre-discussion phase with SevOne to use the telemetric components so hopefully, in the near future, we will have it in our product suite.

We do have SDN but as of today, not with SevOne. That is something that we have aspirations for and will look to in the future.

The out-of-the-box reports and workflows help us to understand what is normal and what is abnormal in our network, and this helps to speed up time-to-value. This is one of SevOne's strong points as I compare them with other vendors that I have seen over the years.

SevOne gives us the ability to edit and customize the out-of-the-box reports and we do that quite a lot. We take what SevOne has provided and we change it to fit our needs. For example, when vendors change their versions and release, we fine-tune them to accommodate these things.

It is fairly easy to customize the out-of-the-box reports, although one needs to have a bit of knowledge to do that. I see it as any other product, but there are some limitations to it. There are complex structures from certain vendors such as Cisco that are not easily supported. For instance, Alcatel-Lucent provides multiple SNMP profiles but that cannot be supported in SevOne. This had to be accomplished using other means. It is cases such as this that highlight why you need to have the knowledge but once you have that, it's fairly straightforward.

Cisco is a vendor that we have had to customize reports for. With respect to temperature monitoring or CPU reporting, some of the out-of-the-box reports don't fit that specific vendor version, so we had to modify them to use the latest MIB and SNMP OID.

We use SevOne for high-frequency polling, where we can quickly flip it on and the network operations team is able to easily troubleshoot issues.

SevOne has enabled us to integrate our network performance management data across our ITSM and business decision-making tools. All of the data that we collect is also shared with other consumers, instead of just retaining it and reporting it. This is done via the Data Bus, which is running over the open-source product, Kafka.

This was fairly easy to deploy and then open using the various device groups and object groups. Once it is open, data can be sent to other consumers. There is no need to do a lot of work. You just quickly enable the component and open it.

These integrations are key to our organization, where there are a lot of users and a high need for the data. For instance, capacity planning. A bit of analytics outside of SevOne has also been implemented, taking the data from different areas including ITSM, network inventory, configuration management, et cetera.

This performance data is key, and having such integration means that we get value out of SevOne fairly quickly. We don't need to invest time and money developing in-house products or looking for other solutions. Of course, the SevOne database component comes with a cost, but it's directly related to what the business needs.

SevOne helps us to detect network performance issues in advance of them impacting end-users through proactive alerting. The monitoring system contains threshold policies that have been configured using the dynamic thresholding approach. Specifically, it looks at a few cases to develop a baseline and calculate the standard deviation. If there is any breach or any high utilization in the specific service of a network, SevOne will provide alerts according to the severity level. It will go to our ITSM and then out to the operational users who will keep an eye on it.

What is most valuable?

We are using the basic NMS product, and we use it with DNC pretty heavily. These basic monitoring aspects are the building blocks for performance management, which is key for any organization. It is important to do network monitoring and capacity planning, which SevOne is very good at.

The Data Bus feature allows us to share data with other consumers, such as other teams in the company.

What needs improvement?

The reporting is pretty straightforward but this is an area for improvement. The reports are easy to configure but they are a bit outdated in terms of appearance and visualization. SevOne has some alternatives where you can use Data Insight and it's easy to configure, yet outdated compared to other reporting mechanisms out there.

As we are moving to virtualization, it would be helpful if there was support for Kubernetes or microservices. If this added in the future then this might help us to better manage SevOne in a virtual environment.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SevOne for nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is pretty good. It is the best when compared to other products on the market.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Given the peer-to-peer architecture, scalability is outstanding. You can both vertically and horizontally scale. We have approximately 60,000 network devices.

We have three or four people in the company who work with SevOne in at least a limited fashion. I am an architect and there are two advanced SevOne developers. We don't manage only SevOne but other products, as well. There is nobody who is entirely dedicated to managing SevOne.

How are customer service and technical support?

We use SevOne support quite regularly and in geographically different places. Our agreement includes 24/7 support, which is helpful when we have to reach out. Generally, they are very good in terms of resolving the issue or providing any technical approaches, and they're friendly in nature.

Overall, the support is outstanding.

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

Prior to SevOne, we used another product. There were challenges with the cost and the growth of the network. Our existing solution couldn't cope, which is why we switched.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex by nature but comparatively, it is simple when I consider a few of the other vendors that I have seen. Our deployment took between three and six months to complete.

When we deployed it, nine years ago, it was on a peer-to-peer architecture with physical machines. We slowly added a few instances to cover its predecessor. We continued adding appliances and within a year or two, we doubled the estate. Then year after year, we have been adding 20% to 30% to it.

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

Some of the services and functionality are adapted for SevOne via open-source, and the cost is very high. For the price that they are asking, it cannot be justified.

If the vendor can look into reducing the cost, and then have a different licensing model based on the usage, that would really help. A blocking point is the high upfront cost because it is challenging to get it accepted and the purchase approved. If the cost were lowered or alternatively, if they can split it over several years, for example, that would help to get the product in the door and get going.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When we first selected SevOne, we evaluated between 10 and 15 products on the market.

SevOne was the peer-to-peer technology, from an architecture perspective, which is the first reason we chose it. The second advantage was the good out-of-the-box reporting. Finally, the pricing was comparatively better.

What other advice do I have?

We combine our analytics reports but we don't use SevOne in that case. We have data that comes from a non-SevOne system, we take the data feed and we have a reporting layer on top of it. Sometimes, this process takes data from SevOne and helps to provide a high-level service dashboard view. However, we do not use a SevOne dashboard to display it. Rather, we rely on the reports. 

At this time, we don't directly integrate with ITSM but we have aspirations to involve SevOne in the whole ITSM process. Ideally, any information that has been collected for ITSM can be accessed by SevOne. Also, it's a bi-directional take on the idea, where ITSM can share in the data collected by SevOne.

My advice for anybody who is considering this product is to test it, hands-on, before jumping to a conclusion about whether to implement it. It is important to compare products from other vendors to see how they perform.

Unfortunately, you have to try SevOne using different components that include the basic NMS plus Data Insight, to get a really good feel of how it collects the data and presents it. I'm confident that at the end of the evaluation, SevOne will stand out in that space.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

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**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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