Server Farming

Mar 20 2009   3:27PM GMT

Is open source affiliation keeping upstart systems management tools out of the enterprise?

Matt Stansberry Matt Stansberry Profile: Matt Stansberry

According to IT management blogger John M. Willis, upstart systems management vendors like Zenoss and Hyperic need to tone down their open source rhetoric and take a page from their competitors like Solar Winds and Nimsoft.

“Zenoss and Hyperic beachfront with open source too much and it keeps them out of the enterprise,” Willis said. “Stop it with the open source stuff. Stop even mentioning it. Solar Winds is kicking your butt all over the place and all they’re talking about is price and performance.”

Willis isn’t advocating that Zenoss and Hyperic drop open source altogether, rather make it a line item instead of a headline.

“Almost everybody I talk to in enterprise IT management isn’t keen on open source,” Willis said. “If there’s a team that wants to run Nagios, then they usually can get a checkmark on it if they don’t have anything already in place. But if you want to rip and replace Tivoli with Zenoss, management will say ‘Eh…. I’m not sure about that.’”

If a company is going the Nagios, Zenoss or Hyperic route, they’re going hook line and sinker, according to Solar Winds senior VP Kenny Van Zant. “They’ll suffer the manual cost of configuration and maintenance that open source will bring, because they don’t even have $5000 to spend,” Van Zant said. “Or people are open source fans who want to use open source wherever they can. When there is a gap on Zenoss, the fill it with nTop, Cacti, or some other open source product of the month and integrate them all together.

“We bump up against those free tools when the open source person leaves the company,” Van Zant said. “We replace Nagios deployments. It just takes too much to keep it up and running.”

Are you willing to bring open source systems management tools into your shop? Did your management team object? Email me or leave feedback in the comments.

6  Comments on this Post

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  • Littleidea
    April 1st isn't for another 2 weeks.
    0 pointsBadges:
  • Ed Tittel
    Reposting this comment from Andrew Shafer (Little Idea) You have to love [A href=""]twitter[/A]… Where should I start? I think the main problems I have with this article is the conflation of real and imaginary issues and the blatant fear mongering. God bless John M. Willis, but his sample may be a bit bias since the majority of his conversations with the enterprise are in the context of his Tivoli expertise. (Mind you, I’m not asserting his bias.) I don’t believe someone who is committed enough to Tivoli to be seeking Tivoli expertise is the best indicator of what the ‘enterprise’ is doing or thinking. Furthermore, to avoid conflating issues, a much better question for John Willis to answer is if the mythical ‘enterprise’ would be more likely to replace Tivoli with Solar Winds vs an Open Source alternative. You also might want to look at Hyperic’s and Zenoss’s marketing. Maybe this is just my bias, but I don’t believe ‘Open Source’ is the main thrust in most of what I can see. (I also believe the term you want to use is ‘beachhead’.) Moving on to Solar Winds, a company that is over 5 years older and has a more diverse product offering than Hyperic or Zenoss, Kenny Van Zandt is spouting pure [A href=""]FUD[/A]. Does commercial software configure itself for free now? In general, with commercial software, you get to pay for the software, and then get the privilege of paying someone to configure it or doing it yourself. I find it hard to believe that Solar Winds is much easier to configure than Hyperic or Zenoss. I’d love to see a bake off with some numbers to compare features, licensing, cost of implementation and determine the total cost of ownership. The sales process in enterprise software is essentially exploiting inefficiencies in the market place with asymmetric access to information. There is the possibility that Solar Winds might just be better, but without the data the alternative is to pay the [A href=""]Ignorance Premium[/A]. One point Van Zandt does make, which I agree with and have been thinking about a lot, is how people fill in the ‘gaps’ in open source offerings. On one hand, there is a benefit that they can even do this since they have the source code. On the other hand the Open Source companies could do a much better job of partnering with each other to provide reference implementations of symbiotic projects. That could be win-win for all involved. But that’s a topic for another day… [A href=""]Andrew Shafer[/A]
    7,280 pointsBadges:
  • JohnMWillis
    Dude, Are we going to continue this debate over here now? I think your comment is a conflation. My comment in this article has nothing to do with bias. I was asked to comment on Solariwinds vs Hyperic and Zenoss. Solarwinds did 98 million in revue in 2008 and I can't image Hyperic and Zenoss combines did over 20 million in 2008. Solarwinds is doing something right and in my opinion is they are not talking about open source... No blatant fear mongering here... just numbers... John conflation
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  • Utilitystatus
    Open source is sooooooooo 1999 and filled with suits going against better competiors with free software upselling value added products and services.
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  • Littleidea
    John, I love numbers. Please explain what you believe I am conflating. You have a provable and admitted sampling bias. That doesn't mean you are biased. Just numbers... Solar Winds doing something right or even better, doesn't mean that Hyperic or Zenoss do better by dropping any mention of Open Source. If you of all people don't see the implication that Open Source solutions are somehow harder to configure and more expensive to maintain than commercial options is fear mongering then I don't know what to tell you. Let's see the numbers... I think you should officiate the systems management bake off throw down. Andrew
    0 pointsBadges:
  • NotAOracleFan
    Asking John "I write Tivoli Books for a living" Willis to comment on anything competing with large Enterprise Solutions is like asking the Fox to comment on putting a lock on the hen house. As a worker in the trenches who has spent time with Patrol, Network Node Manager, Nagios, Hobbit (and yes even Tivoli), I have got to say that the only thing these days that matter is the tool easy to use. If the answer is yes than I can sell my management on anything (usually be showing them pretty graphs with flashing lights and colors). No one is turning up their noses at "Open Source" these days. All the Open Source solutions mentioned in the article have a for pay option: Hyperic Nagios - Groundworks Just like RedHat. So you have the best of all worlds.
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