ccording to uptime software, IT managers and systems administrators often underestimate the effort involved in completing a comprehensive evaluation of new systems monitoring tools. Based on uptime software's experience in the market and conversations with hundreds of mid-enterprise customers, the company created a list of '5 Tips for Evaluating IT Systems Management Software' that highlights key points of consideration for companies going through evaluation processes today. Additionally, uptime software has also created an 'Evaluation Checklist' that can be found below.

Five Tips for Evaluating IT Systems Management Software

1. Applications are becoming dynamic and complicated. Can your monitoring and performance software handle them? Historically, it has been fairly easy to monitor applications. Today, applications are increasingly componentized and are being abstracted from the underlying hardware platforms with the prevalence of virtualization technologies such as VMware, Hyper-V, AIX LPARs, and Solaris zones. It is now incumbent on systems management vendors to understand these virtualization technologies in great detail and how they impact application monitoring and performance. Systems management and application monitoring tools should make application monitoring easier, not more complicated.

2. Heterogeneous platforms (Virtual, Physical and even Cloud) are the new normal. Most mid-enterprise IT departments are dealing with hardware platforms of many vintages and architectures. Virtualization and cloud computing add further complexity to the mix. When evaluating systems management software, companies must ensure they are capable of monitoring heterogeneous platforms and ever-changing environments.

3. Are you future proofing? What about new technologies? Virtualization was and continues to be a big disruptor in technology, yet it took vendors years to understand how to effectively monitor virtual environments. With the advent of cloud and its adoption, a very similar problem is occurring again. Can you get a single pane-of-glass for monitoring and managing the physical, virtual, and cloud stacks together? As technologies change, make sure your systems management tool is ready to grow with you.

4. Can you quickly evaluate and deploy? Time to deploy is critical for every IT manager. Companies want the ability to evaluate software and deploy at their own pace without having to rely on a full-time administrator to install and support the new software. Is the solution you're evaluating going to save time and costs associated with deploying new software?

5. Trial, trial and ....trial, before you talk to salespeople. Don't get caught being sold to through fancy demos, vaporware, and PowerPoints. Trial the tool, see what it does and how it acts in the environment. If the trial is complicated, frustrating, and doesn't do what you want, don't expect the purchased tool to be any better. Make sure the systems management tool is the right fit for your environment, and fully trial the software before getting too far along in the buying process.

As part of this announcement, uptime software announced the availability of the up.time Evaluation Center, offering a set of free tools to help IT managers and systems administrators expedite the process of selecting the best tool based on need, environment and budget.

"In talking with our customers it became clear that most IT professionals would find a 'Systems Management and Server Monitoring Evaluation Guide' very useful for evaluating systems monitoring tools. With that in mind, we've developed a set of resources based on valuable lessons learned to help companies make better, more informed purchasing decisions when it comes to IT systems management tools," said Alex Bewley, CTO of uptime software.

The New up.time Evaluation Center Includes:

  • A Downloadable Evaluation Checklist: A downloadable, editable evaluation checklist that provides a detailed, categorized list of over 65 items that an IT manager should include in an evaluation. Rather than building a checklist from scratch, IT managers can start with this checklist and customize it to meet their needs.
  • A 7-Step Video Guide to Evaluating up.time: A video series that provides a step-by-step guide to evaluating up.time in simple 3-minute segments including installation, configuration, alerting, reporting, SLAs, and automation.