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Monday, September 8, 2008

Comparing server monitoring vendors

Often we get customers asking us how we compare to competitors. This perfectly understandable as one wants to make the best purchase for his budget.

The good news is that most products that have been on the market for quite some time are very decent. The bad news is that there is no objective comparison.

A good vendor will by nature think that he has the best product in his portfolio. So getting an objective comparison is something that is hard to obtain from a vendor. A vendor will emphasize his best features compared to the specific competitor and not always mention others where he might be weaker.

What is the best way to compare? First make a shortlist of vendors based on published information you can find on the websites of the different players, press reviews etc...

Once your shortlist is made, try them out! There is no better way to know if a product is going to work than by installing it in your network and using it in trial mode to do what you require it to do. This is the only subjective way to compare. Indeed your requirement is subjective as it is specific to your organization, needs etc...

There are 2 ways to trial monitoring software: the do-it-yourself approach or the consultant way.

ServersCheck offers a do-it-yourself trial whereby limited support is available using a built-in link from within the software. Do it yourself results in a lower license fee - similar as to why IKEA is able to offer quality furniture at a lower price.

Having a presales team installing a monitoring software in your organization is another option.

Not so long ago we had a customer asking is we could come to their site and implement the trial edition as a big IT company was doing it for "free". We told them that our business model, and low pricing, is based upon a trial whereby you install ad test the software with remote support available. They were disappointed that we couldn't do it. We told them that they wouldn't when they would get the quote for the licensing fees from the big IT company. Their price was 60 times (!) more expensive for a similar solution.

At the end of the day when a vendor sends a presales team on site to implement a trial, then the cost of it will be almost always reflected in the license fees. Those presales consultants have to be paid by someone. You can't expect a company offering a DIY approach to offer the same as a company sending a presales team when the license fee is way less.

Seeing monitoring solutions work in your environment is the best way to compare. You will end up going with the product that appeals you most when working with it.

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