Comparison Paper Argent vs. IBM Tivoli/Netcool

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1 Comparison Paper Argent vs. IBM Tivoli/Netcool

2 Contents Overview 2 Critical Differences 4 Investment Differences 6 Critical Architectural Differences 7 n-tier Architecture 8 Critical Support Differences 9 Installation and Implementation Differences 9 Service Management Software: Functional Categories 10 Page 1 of 12

3 Overview This Comparison Paper compares and contrasts the monitoring and alerting capabilities in the Argent monitoring products with IBM s Netcool Product. There are many important differences between the products architectural differences, installation and implementation differences, as well as differences in the two companies' pricing policies; one can also find differences in the way technical support is handled by the two companies. The major differences between these two products in a number of critical areas are highlighted in the following sections. First, however, are the following short descriptions for these products: IBM Netcool/Impact IBM, with the acquisition of Micromuse Inc., is now able to offer a service management software portfolio that combines the capabilities of IBM Tivoli and Netcool products. IBM Tivoli Netcool is fully integrated services management software. The IBM Tivoli Netcool/Impact is a software tool that provides Business Application Management solutions. Netcool/Impact helps in better management of enterprise data across the organization. The IBM Tivoli Netcool/Impact offers a common platform for all the information needs of an enterprise, circumventing the various functional/departmental perimeters. Netcool/Impact also provides an improved policy-engine allowing the system administrators to define specific actions and their time of execution. IBM Netcool/OMNIbus The IBM Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus offers server, network, and device management solutions to the user. Netcool/OMNIbus offers a centralized, real time monitoring of complex data networks operating on various platforms. It is a highly scalable product that can easily track millions of transactions/events per day. In this way, Netcool/OMNIbus helps in improving the process efficiency parameters by allowing the administrators a bird s eye view of the critical processes across the entire enterprise. Page 2 of 12

4 Overview Argent Software Argent offers a wide range of IT solutions for business organizations to help improve their performance and efficiency, in addition to significantly reducing their cost. Argent has offices in 35 countries around the world. Argent Software offers a wide range of products for domains such as Application Monitoring, Data Management Services, Inventory Management, SOX compliance software, Performance Management solutions, etc. The Argent SNMP Monitor offers monitoring and detailed reporting of a wide range of SNMP network devices. The WMI Monitor allows monitoring over the commonly used Windows platform using WMI scripts. These two products are commonly used in conjunction with complementary optimization tools in the IT infrastructure. In the Event Correlation and Analysis (ECA) domain, Argent 9.5 offers a comprehensive platform and an independent end-to-end solution spanning the entire lifecycle of the event. Differing Growth Strategies Buy Versus Build The largest different between the two companies is how they have grown their monitoring business. IBM built its monitoring business almost completely by acquiring other companies, starting with the acquisition of Tivoli in This provides the benefit of rapid growth but can lead to totally unrelated products and development teams being forced to try to work together square pegs, round holes. In contrast, in its 18 year history, Argent has made no acquisitions Argent's development philosophy is based on small teams of Argent employees at the various Argent development centers around the world. While this approach is both more expensive and slower, it often leads to better integrated products. Page 3 of 12

5 Critical Differences The following table contains 36 critical production-monitoring requirements. The Argent monitoring products support all these critical requirements. Feature Server/Application Supported Argent Netcool Windows NT Operating Systems 1. Windows 200x (including Windows 2008) Yes Yes 2. Microsoft Cluster Service Yes Yes 3. Microsoft Terminal Server Yes Yes Messaging Services 4. Microsoft Exchange Yes Yes 5. Microsoft Exchange 2007 Yes Yes 6. Lotus Notes Yes Yes 7. Lotus Domino Yes Yes Internet/Web Facilities 8. Full FTP Site Monitoring Yes Yes 9. Real Turnaround Time Yes No 10. Hacker Attacks on an Internet or Intranet Yes Yes 11. Page Changes on an Intranet or Web Site Yes No 12. Response Time Alerting for Slow Intranet Sites Yes Yes Capacity Planning and Trend Analysis 13. GUI and web trend reporting tool Yes Yes 14. Custom Web Report Facility Yes Yes 15. Report Viewable via a Web Browser Yes Yes 16. SLA Reports ed to Managers Yes No Linux Support 17. Ability to Monitor Linux Yes Yes Flexible Design 18. Option to Install Local OR remote Agents Yes No Page 4 of 12

6 Critical Differences Feature Server/Application Supported Argent Netcool SuperConsole 19. Ability to see all Outstanding Alerts for All Yes Yes Monitored Regions on One Screen n-tier Architecture 20. Ability to Divide Monitoring by Region, or Yes No Function, or Server Type, etc. Essential Usability Features 21. RunBooks Yes Yes 22. Console Comment Field Yes Yes 23. Three Levels of Alert Importance Yes Yes 24. Memo Field for Groupware Support Yes No 25. Ability to Fire Multiple Alerts from a Relator Yes No 26. Drag and Drop Support in Relators Yes No 27. Master List of All Objects Yes No 28. Ability to Import and Export Rule Sets Yes Yes Technical Support 29. Live Support on Weekends Yes Extra Cost 30. Live Support on Holidays Yes Extra Cost 31. Live Support Outside Working Hours Yes Extra Cost Network Monitoring Included 32. Hubs and Routers Monitored at No Extra Cost Yes No SNMP Support 33. Complete SNMP Support at No Extra Cost Yes Yes 34. Can Put SNMP Alerts on the Master Console Yes Yes 35. Optimized Long-Walk Capabilities Yes No 36. SNMP Macro Facility Yes Yes Page 5 of 12

7 Investment Differences Argent and Netcool are both leading products in the business of monitoring important business services, applications, and systems. However, there are major differences when it comes to the kind of investment one has to make while implementing each product. Here is a table illustrating the differences in investment one has to make for each product. Feature Argent Netcool 1. Unlimited Number of Management Consoles Included Extra 2. Interface to Remedy Included Included 3. Interface to Tivoli Included Included 4. Interface to Unicenter Included Extra 5. Monitoring Citrix Included Extra 6. Monitoring Terminal Server Included Included 7. Monitoring Lotus Domino Included Extra 8. Monitoring Lotus Notes Included Extra 9. Monitoring Microsoft IIS Included Extra 10. Monitoring Proxy Server Included Extra 11. Monitoring Cisco Included Included 12. Monitoring NetWare Included Included 13. Interfacing to Insight Manager Included Extra 14. Interfacing to Dell Open Manage Included Extra 15. Interfacing to IBM Netfinity Included Extra 16. Automatic Report Distribution Included Extra 17. Universal Browser Interface Included Extra 18. Service Level Agreement Included Included 19. SNMP Support Included Included Page 6 of 12

8 Critical Architectural Differences We now turn our attention towards the major architectural differences between the Argent Suite of Monitoring Products and Netcool. Area The Argent Monitoring Products Netcool Remote Monitoring Agents Yes, fully supported No SuperConsole Yes Yes n-tier Architecture Yes No Scalable Yes Yes Page 7 of 12

9 n-tier Architecture With Argent's n-tier architecture, customers can have all monitored servers in a single monitoring region, or optionally, customers can divide monitored servers into different regions by geography, function, etc. Typically, for small environments (under 50 monitored servers), a single monitoring region will be appropriate. However, take the case of a large Southwest utility that uses Argent to monitor over 1,200 production servers. Argent engineers worked with this company's technical staff to design a monitoring topology whereby monitoring was done by server function and each of the following has its own monitoring region: All the SQL Server production servers in one monitoring region All the SQL Server test servers in a different monitoring region All the Exchange 2007 servers in a different monitoring region All the IIS servers in a different monitoring region All the Power Gen production servers in a different monitoring region Best of all, all outstanding alerts from all these monitoring regions are displayed on one screen - the Argent SuperConsole. Other customers create independent monitoring regions based on geographic region, such as East, Central, West, South, Canada, etc. Only Argent has n-tier architecture and the Argent SuperConsole. Page 8 of 12

10 Critical Support Differences With both Argent and Netcool monitoring and reporting on systems and services that run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it is crucial that they also provide technical support, 24 by 7, year round. However, Argent is the only vendor that provides round-the-clock technical support including on holidays and weekends. In contrast, for enhanced support and information about upgrades, IBM/Tivoli requires that its customers purchase a Software Subscription and Support package for each product that the customer buys. Installation and Implementation Differences It typically takes days to install, implement and integrate the various components of Netcool, like probes and gateways. Further, one needs to have a very clear idea about the implementation goals as well as an extensive knowledge of the various features of Netcool in order to install the product and get it up and running successfully. Installing Argent, on the other hand, requires barely 10 minutes. Page 9 of 12

11 Service Management Software: Functional Categories Service management software solutions can be grouped into broad categories, based on the service enhancements that are offered by them to a business organization. The categories include: 1. Business service management 2. Event management 3. Network management 4. Systems and applications management 5. Performance management 6. Security information and event management. The following is a comparison of popular service management solution products, and their product products, in each category. Business Service Management Enterprises rely on smooth functioning of their business services for maintaining and improving customer satisfaction. The unique and patented Argent Dashboard enables customers to provide integrated views of the enterprise in the NOC (Network Operations Center). Argent Dashboard is a flagship product offered by Argent software to enable business enterprises to remotely monitor their business services over a secure network. From the IBM stable, the Netcool/Realtime Active Dashboards provide service status monitoring, modeling, and real-time access to almost any data source. Tivoli Business Systems Manager also supports a broad range of data sources and relationships, including System z mainframe discovery, status, and resource relationships. IBM provides these products in a packaged form in order to offer enterprises a broad and detailed view of the overall health and performance status of critical services. Page 10 of 12

12 Service Management Software: Functional Categories Event Management Event management provides automatic collection, consolidation and correlation of events. Argent Software offers the Argent a comprehensive platform and an independent end-to-end solution for the Event Correlation and Analysis (ECA) domain. It offers comprehensive collection, consolidation and correlation functions spanning the entire lifecycle of the event. When compared to its rival products, Argent 9.5 is uniquely powerful while also having a very lightweight footprint requiring minimal network hardware resources. Tivoli Enterprise Console offers flexible and advanced event correlation. It offers very high scalability coupled with broad integration and efficient correlation parameters. Netcool/Webtop offers a lightweight and customizable Web interface. These Netcool and Tivoli event management components are now interoperable. Netcool/OMNIbus and Tivoli Enterprise Console event management products offer bidirectional interoperability. The user can choose either the Tivoli Enterprise Portal or the Netcool/Webtop display. Network Management Network management helps maximize the availability of critical business services by providing rapid problem identification and resolution of network-related events. In the Network management domain, Argent software offers two products - the Argent SNMP Monitor and the Argent WMI Monitor. The Argent SNMP monitor offers services pertaining to the monitoring and detailed reporting of a wide range of SNMP network devices. The Argent WMI Monitor offers monitoring services over the commonly used Windows platform using the WMI scripts. Other compatible optimization tools offered by Argent software complement these two products in the network management domain. Netcool/Precision, in conjunction with IBM Tivoli Layers 1 to 3, can address the scalability and flexibility needs of enterprises that manage large business-critical environments. In addition, IBM plans to include a next-generation, IPv6-compliant version of Netcool/Precision to help customers manage very large networked environments. Page 11 of 12

13 Service Management Software: Functional Categories Systems and Applications Management Systems and applications management optimizes the health and availability of critical business services by providing rapid problem identification and resolution for these resources. Argent Guardian, the flagship product of Argent, is system management software that enhances the reliability and performance of an enterprise s Windows 200x, NT, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, and Linux servers. It uses a patented agent-optional architecture. It proactively identifies and corrects issues even before the end-users come to know that issues exist. For identifying issues, it makes use of pre-defined Rule Sets, which contain over 2,500 rules and pre-defined reports enabling customers to maximize the reliability of production servers and applications. You can view the console using both a traditional GUI interface, as well as a Web-based interface. Argent Guardian is an extremely scalable monitoring and alerting solution. You need to install it only on one server, from which it will start monitoring all servers. It decreases the total cost of ownership. You can easily categorize servers into groups along business lines, geographic locations, or server types. After creating the groups, you can view all outstanding alerts from all groups worldwide on a central console as well as issue alerts when problems arise. Argent Guardian is the all-in-one solution for monitoring servers. Netcool/Monitors products demonstrate full interoperability with the Tivoli Enterprise Console as well as the Tivoli Enterprise Portal. Similarly, the ITCAM families and the Tivoli Monitoring tools offer full interoperability with the Netcool/OMNIbus platform. Netcool/Internet Service Monitors have become IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager for Internet Service Monitoring. Note: Product names and other trademarks referred to in this comparison paper are the property of their respective trademark holders. ArgSoft Intellectual Property Holdings Limited created this Comparison Paper for informational purposes only. ArgSoft makes no warranty, either express or implied, in this document. The information contained in this document is subject to change without notice. ArgSoft shall not be liable for any technical or editorial errors, or omissions contained in this document, nor for incidental, indirect or consequential damages resulting from the furnishing, performance, or use of the material contained in this document, or the document itself. Page 12 of 12

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