In Network World today….full article
How to dramatically cut costs on network performance monitoring
IT Best Practices Alert By Linda Musthaler , Network World , 06/19/2009
The economic downturn and reduced IT budgets are forcing many network managers to look for alternative (read that as “cheaper”) products and solutions for managing their networks. If you find yourself in this boat, then read on. This article is about a performance and availability monitoring solution that competes with the enterprise products from companies like CA, IBM, HP and BMC Software. At the same time, this solution is saving its users hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.
Do you find that savings number hard to believe? So did I when I first talked to the executives at Nimsoft, purveyors of software for service-level management and business-service management. Then I talked with Scott Crowder, the vice president of the Internet Services Division of Blackbaud. Crowder is responsible for data center operations at Blackbaud, a $300 million company that services more than 20,000 nonprofit organizations (NPOs) around the world. Blackbaud’s software helps the NPOs raise funds through donations made online, so Blackbaud’s Web applications are mission-critical.
Blackbaud operates four major data centers in North America, and it has just acquired another in The Netherlands. Each of the North American data centers has about 20 racks holding thousands of servers that process the donation transactions and run online marketing applications and e-mail processes. Crowder’s team monitors the performance and availability of the servers to ensure that the business applications are always available and performing within specific service levels.
About two years ago, Blackbaud adopted the Nimsoft Monitoring Solution (NMS, formerly called NimBUS) in one of its divisions. The results were so good that Blackbaud adopted NMS across the entire enterprise, displacing two other enterprise monitoring tools that had been in place for years. Crowder says the tools that Blackbaud took out had onerous licensing terms that made it cost prohibitive to scale the solutions when needed. The annual maintenance fees alone were very costly. What’s more, the old tools didn’t offer all the features Blackbaud needed.
Crowder estimates that Blackbaud saved about $750,000 on the initial purchase of the Nimsoft software versus the other tools. The company is realizing annual savings on maintenance in the range of $50,000 to $60,000, or possibly even more.