5 Replies Latest reply on Mar 2, 2011 7:38 AM by Paul_H

    Look before you leap: Upgrading to APM

    Term

      After spending some time with APM, we decided against it, for several reasons:

      1.  It's not entirely web based.  In order to add a alert or a report, someone physically has to log into the server.  

      2.  The alert manager, while more configurable than ipmonitor, is far more complicated.  I could spend many many days trying to recreate what ipmonitor can throw together in a few minutes.

      3.  The report writer is not as good.  No charts and graphs.  However, APM does store in a sql database so I could write my own report tool if I had to.  The comment on complexity also applies here.

      4.  Steeper requirements - requires a Win2k3 server and 3GB ram.  I'm able to run ipmonitor on a XP machine with 2GB ram.  When I look at whats running, it has 4 or 5 20+MB processes running.  Why the heck does it need to be so big?

      5.  The installer made a mess.  There are 5 or 6 install entries, and more stuff left over after it was supposedly uninstalled.  

      Solarwinds has decided to concentrate on the wrong product.  You give up some flexibility and scalability with ipmonitor, but it's ease of use cannot be beat.  Maybe APM scales better than ipmonitor, but for me its not worth what you give up.  Even with a 60% discount!

      It's a shame what has happened to ipmonitor.  I hope they can do something soon to justify what they are charging for support every year.  They seem to cycle PMs though here a lot, but that's all that seems to happen around here.

        • Re: Look before you leap: Upgrading to APM
          macnugetz

          Term,

          Thanks for the feedback.  I'd like to clarify a few p0oints.  Although you have the ability to manage basic alerts from the web console, you have the additional flexibility to create more complex alerts through the Advanced Alert Manager.  Yes, creating these advanced alerts can be more complex, but they give you tremendous flexibility in terms of the logic you can use in building the alert and which actions should be triggered when the alert fires.  With respect to the Report Writer, again this gives you some additional flexibility in terms of writing custom reports.  Although not a feature of the Report Writer, you absolutely have the option of generating graphic-rich reports with the new 'Export to .pdf' feature on every page or view in the web console.  You can build custom views to display the charts and graphs you want to include in your report, then you can create a .pdf report of that view with the push of a button.  With respect to the system requirements, APM is a much more robust solution for larger scale deployments, so it's going to have a larger system footprint.

          All of that said, there is no question that ipMonitor is a great product; however, there are several things you're going to get with APM that ipMonitor doesn't have.  Dynamic Service Groups (these are more robust than the ipMonitor Smart groups on several fronts), VMware virtual infrastructure monitoring, and extensibility and scalabilty are just a few.

          -Craig

            • Re: Look before you leap: Upgrading to APM
              Term


              Thanks for the feedback.  I'd like to clarify a few points.  Although you have the ability to manage basic alerts from the web console, you have the additional flexibility to create more complex alerts through the Advanced Alert Manager.  Yes, creating these advanced alerts can be more complex, but they give you tremendous flexibility in terms of the logic you can use in building the alert and which actions should be triggered when the alert fires.



              If any alerts can be set up through the web interface, I don't see how.  The help documentation didn't mention how either, and the sales engineer didn't correct me when I complained about this.  I understand its more flexible, and grasp the benefits of it.  It's just not user friendly to require logging into a console to configure them.

               



              With respect to the Report Writer, again this gives you some additional flexibility in terms of writing custom reports.  Although not a feature of the Report Writer, you absolutely have the option of generating graphic-rich reports with the new 'Export to .pdf' feature on every page or view in the web console.  You can build custom views to display the charts and graphs you want to include in your report, then you can create a .pdf report of that view with the push of a button. 

               



              That is a workaround, yes.  But what I wanted was a report emailed to me every week that contained some pie charts representing all my hard drive volumes.  I can't do this now.

               

               



              With respect to the system requirements, APM is a much more robust solution for larger scale deployments, so it's going to have a larger system footprint.

               



              Then why is APM for sale for as little as 50 monitors?  Sell ipmonitor to handle the low end - maybe 50-500 monitors, then start APM pricing from 500 and up.  Then the bloat associated with it would make more sense.  You've built a ipmonitor-> apm conversion tool so the transition should be easy, right?

               



              All of that said, there is no question that ipMonitor is a great product; however, there are several things you're going to get with APM that ipMonitor doesn't have.  Dynamic Service Groups (these are more robust than the ipMonitor Smart groups on several fronts), VMware virtual infrastructure monitoring, and extensibility and scalabilty are just a few.

               



               

              I actually emailed the national director of sales on this very question, and he didn't bother to answer.  I don't have much need for the dynamic service groups, and the version of VMware we are using does not support snmp monitoring.  Extensibility and scalability are just marketing speak which I will convert to "if you have over 1000 monitors, APM can handle that".  I think I talked to Christine on the phone last time maintenance came up and she essentially told me that APM will do everything ipmonitor does and more.  Well, now that I have tested it myself I know thats not exactly the case.  It does add some additional features like vmware, and probably a more extensive snmp MIB database, but the fact that it can't turn out reports and alerts as easily as ipmonitor is a huge weakness.

            • Re: Look before you leap: Upgrading to APM
              christineb

              Hi Term - we're in the final stages of an IpMonitor release and we'll have an RC out very soon. I'll post as soon as that is ready to go and invite folks to participate. I've been the PM for IpM for a little over a year now, so feel free to bug me for updates as often as you like. I'll be here to answer!

              --Christine 

              • Re: Look before you leap: Upgrading to APM
                byrona

                Term

                It sounds to me like this is a case of using the proper product for the environment.  In your case it would seem that IPMonitor is just a better fit for your environment as I am sure is the case for many others as well.

                In our case IPMonitor doesn't begin to satisfy our requirements so we use NPM+APM; the additional capabilities and flexibilities are an absolute must.

                They are just different products designed for different use cases.  Ultimately the important thing is that you have a product that is working for you.

                  • Re: Look before you leap: Upgrading to APM

                    We looked at APM lat 2010 but APM was using WMI for system monitoring, even though NPM still uses SNMP for monitoring, and we use SNMP due to its universal implementation so we stayed with IPMONITOR which we use for System and Application monitoring. APM not having a Delta check was also was a real show stopper.

                    The key monitors that we wanted that IPMONITOR did not have - SOAP monitor, PORT monitor, PROCESS monitor and the ability to specify the proxy server to use when monitoring a URL, we have wriiten some basic scripts in PERL, allowing us to keep our monitoring solution quite simple, whilst allowing us to monitor just about everything we want(never will get everything). Nothing is perfect, but right now, our IPMONITOR is a lot closer to our ideal than APM is.

                    We did find we were getting capacity constrained which we found was directly related to the CPU of the Server IPMONITOR was running on. Moved to a newer CPU(X5650 vs. E5345) of roughly the same GHz and average CPU usage dropped by a massive 50% and all capacity issues such as monitors timing out dissapeared. 3500+ agressively timed monitors and still going strong - and happy.

                    Just my 2 cents.

                    Paul