Zenoss Service Dynamics Review

Agentless monitoring means it uses the available, standard protocols, like TCP, UDP, WMI, and WinRM

What is our primary use case?

As a Zenoss partner, the use cases have varied, based on the requirements. When I started using it in 2012, we were asked to migrate a set of technologies, like Windows and Linux monitoring, infrastructure monitoring, from different tools like SolarWinds and Tivoli to Zenoss, so that we would have a single pane for unified monitoring; a global operations manager. That, in turn, was integrated with ITSM tools like ServiceNow or CA. 

When I joined a different organization, it was used mostly for direct monitoring of vSphere and NetApp, with Windows and Linux of course, and some integration with SolarWinds and trap-based integrations. Internally we integrated it with ServiceNow. I implement that, integrate it, and hand it over to the daily support team.

We implement some customers on-prem and some customers we do using AWS or Azure cloud. It varies.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is the way it tries to discover technologies. It doesn't use any out-of-the-box things. It specifically uses the available, standard protocols, like TCP, UDP, WMI, and WinRM. It makes use of whatever underlying technologies are there. That is one advantage of being an agentless monitoring tool.

It has also accommodated many state-of-the-art technologies, such as Docker and ZooKeeper.

In addition, it gives you a lot of handy options to integrate with external systems.

Being Linux-based, it's easier for me to customize and co-ordinate, because I have a Linux-based background.

What needs improvement?

There is room for improvement with the administrative part. They introduced Control Center to manage things in Zenoss 5. The services that Zenoss provides remained the same, but the administrative part, since they introduced Docker, etc., has become a little complex. I know it's interesting to get new features, but it didn't add value to the customer. It made the administration task a little more complex but I have gotten used to it over the last year.

Also, application performance monitoring is an area that Zenoss has not touched much. I would like to see them focus more on this area. There is a need for application monitoring and mobile Android monitoring. If they can develop those kinds of areas that would make our business more up to date and we could cover more customers.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working on Zenoss Service Dynamics since 2012. I started with Zenoss 4.2. Later I moved on and got experience with Zenoss 5. I implemented that. Right now I'm using 6.x, the latest one.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable most of the way. I would rate that at eight out of 10. But it still requires more implementation and development.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have always had satisfactory support from them. I even have some personal favorites. People there are very friendly and very responsive and they provide an on-demand service. It doesn't matter whether you are a platinum customer or what type of customer you are. They are always rational and provide solutions on time.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is not straightforward because Zenoss is more like building-blocks that are given to you. They will give you all the features that are available in the technology. If you want to build something, you use your own hands, use your own brain, and build it. That is more the approach. The more you get your hands on it, the more you can mold it into anything that you want. I've seen customers — whenever Zenoss does yearly forums for the product — who are using it more efficiently than I do because they have more programming skills. 

On the other hand, that is one of the advantages that Zenoss has. They give it to you in a format so you can do anything that you decide. That is one advantage of Zenoss.

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

It is very cost-effective compared to the tools I worked with in the past. The company is gaining a lot with respect to the cost factor. It provides agentless monitoring and in a very cheap way.

What other advice do I have?

Whenever a customer needs to monitor or manage multiple systems that need to be integrated into a single platform, and they need the cost to be very effective, I would recommend Zenoss.

I have worked on Zenoss for big, commercial enterprises, with customers who have 20,000 employees , where I have to monitor 7,000 to 14,000 CIFs. I have also worked with customers who only have 16 VMs that I need to monitor.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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