Review: The best network monitoring system on earth

ScienceLogic EM7 brings ultraflexible, ultrascalable, carrier-grade network monitoring to the enterprise

By Brian Chee, InfoWorld |  Networking, network monitoring

As in many shops, the workload is distributed among several staff members. The EM7 dashboard system allows us to customize status screens with the information that makes sense for each member of the support team. Thus, the systems dashboard concentrates on Windows, Linux, and Sun machines, while the networking screen focuses on the backbone and distribution switches, and everyone gets a window into overall system health. As we grow more familiar with the system, we'll look at carving off new dashboards for certain labs to provide at-a-glance views of key information on their systems, while shielding them from other labs or our main systems.

Another huge challenge for us was gaining insight into our newer virtualization and cloud environments. Although most small-shop-monitoring systems can harvest SNMP and WMI information from the servers, we needed to know about the VMware and Hyper-V plumbing. Our legacy monitoring system couldn't provide this information. The EM7 system lets us examine the performance of the virtualization hosts and the physical nodes in the context of function and role within the organization.

Built for big networksOne point I want to make very clear is that EM7 should not be compared to WhatsUp Gold or other network monitoring systems designed for the single enterprise. This is a carrier-class system that was born from engineers working with national and international carriers that needed enough flexibility to handle hundreds of entities and a similar number of connected networks. The fact that EM7 can use national weather service map overlays to put potential trouble spots into perspective gives you a good idea of the system scope the Science Logic folks are used to. Even so, keep in mind that I've been using EM7 for the past year or so in a single college on a single campus at a single university. Pricing is a function of the number of systems you're monitoring.

In other words, the EM7 pricing structure doesn't differentiate between a flat enterprise network with 1,000 devices to monitor as opposed to our network that includes dozens of labs with projects behind their own firewalls. All of this sits on a collection of NAT Class C IPv4 subnets -- some with public addressing and a smaller number making the transition to IPv6. If you have projects behind NAT firewalls, you can put in a virtual machine collector that feeds systems information to the main EM7 database for the same price as a flat network with a single collector. If you're not virtualized yet, the database and collectors are also available as a physical appliance. We make use of both physical and virtual appliances.

Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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