Earlier this week, CA announced a new product – “Nimsoft Monitor Snap” – that provides basic monitoring of up to 30 devices for free. The question if you are an IT user or manager trying to make a strategic decision for your business is: would this make any sense for you? Let’s look at some of the details of their free tool:
- No Support – software without support is perfect for IT systems that are not important to the business. The customer then has plenty of time to wait for someone in CA’s proposed new community to contribute some tidbit that may or may not solve their problem. For everyone else whose IT systems are important to the business, having professional support that can help make sure everything is up and running is critical.
- No Growth Path – 30 devices across networks, applications, servers, virtualization and storage is not a large environment. What happens when you need that 31st router, VM or server? Instead of starting with a company that was built on serving the needs of IT users, you are forced to rip and replace your system or are confronted with the expense and issues of CA’s premium offering.
- No Agentless Option – Nimsoft is an agent-based solution which can add complexity and overhead to the monitoring operation.
- No Server Hardware Health Monitoring – Seeing both the server software and hardware health is a critical capability for ensuring that an IT environment is up and running. Monitoring servers without understanding hardware health issues can leave you vulnerable to preventable outages.
- No advanced notifications or reporting – The lack of comprehensive reporting and notification can quickly turn into a large time waster for IT admins trying to get critical system information from their management solution. By excluding it from the offering, the solution introduces a pain point designed to drive users to the paid enterprise product.
- No Storage (almost) – Storage is ostensibly included in the solution but it is limited to 10GB. Just to put this in context, if your smart phone or iPad was a monitored device, its storage would probably be too big for this product to monitor. And if irony is your thing, you’ll find it interesting that CA’s own product storage minimum is 15GB, so “snap” can’t actually monitor its own storage. In other words, if you plan to monitor storage you will have to buy something else.
- Uncertain Long-Term Future – Companies rarely give away profitable and successful products for free but more likely those where they have little to lose. A recent example of this is Dell Quest’s PacketTrap offering which Quest had as a paid product, then introduced with a free version before recently announcing they would kill it because it wasn’t strategic to them.
Clearly a free offering, even with its severe limitations, will appeal to a certain set of users. However, customers should carefully weigh the pros and cons of choosing CA’s free Nimsoft Monitor Snap offering as their strategic IT management platform.