I’ve worked with a few different network management systems in my career, some commercial and some open source. Based on my experience with each one of them, I’ve developed certain qualities that I look for when deciding on which product to recommend or use.


One common theme that always seems to come up when comparing experiences with my peers is how easy it is to implement and operate product $A vs product $B?


In my opinion, implementation and operation of a product are critical when accessing any product, not just a NMS. If it’s not easy to implement, how are you ever going to get it off the ground? Will training be necessary just to install it? IF you ever do get it off the ground and running, will it take a small army to keep it going? Will you have to dedicate time and resources each day just to cultivate that product? How can you trust a product with the management and monitoring of your network environment, if it crashes all the time or if you have to be a Jedi to unlock all of its mystical bells and whistles?


With that being said, what do you look for in a network management system? Easy to install? Intuitive interface? All the features you could wish for? Is cost the ultimate factor? I’d love to hear what you all think.