Review: The best network monitoring system on earth

ScienceLogic EM7 brings ultraflexible, ultrascalable, carrier-grade network monitoring to the enterprise

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More signal, less noise
EM7 provides similarly fine-grained control over alerting. Setting up the InteropNet involves putting together a large number of pieces in a short amount of time. To speed the process, the EM7 crew would discover assets and put them into maintenance mode in order to ignore errors as we tested parts of the network during construction. At one point, we knew we had a bunch of optical errors as the fiber crew cleaned and connected more of the show infrastructure, but we didn't want to be overwhelmed by alerts and flashing lights. EM7 allowed us to change the alerting so that small numbers of minor errors would be ignored, but increasing numbers of minor errors over a short time would automatically escalate from minor to major to critical.

The happy result: We weren't notified of optical errors until the routers started load balancing over both our major WAN links. Minor errors were ignored until they started skyrocketing due to the increase in the amount of traffic on our secondary link. This escalated alert got our attention and forced us to look for missed optical path issues. It turned out someone had plugged in a dirty fiber cable that drove some grit into the optics of a 10G interface module. The escalated alert gave us enough time to replace the damaged components before the open of the exhibit floor.

EM7 has so many features and capabilities, it's hard to do it justice. Setup is easy, and the initial learning curve isn't too painful. It scales like crazy and distributes the load across lots of collectors and database appliances, physical or virtual. You can add any number of collectors -- one for every subnet, if you want -- as part of the license. Best of all, EM7 can be extended through templates and scripting to do just about anything you could possibly want from a management system, even if you don't have a full MIB for the device. In nearly two years of running this system, I haven't found anything it can't manage.

We chose EM7 at the University of Hawaii SOEST because we wanted each research lab to be able to handle its own monitoring and trouble ticketing, instead of managing it at the college or campus level. But along with the multitenant management and billing capabilities, as well as the staggering granularity of delegation, Science Logic EM7 has everything needed to manage your entire enterprise from soup to nuts. Its ability to correlate events across a huge variety of platforms, provide context-sensitive views, automatically generate trouble tickets, and flexibly scale without breaking the bank is simply a game changer. 

ScienceLogic EM7 at a glance

CostPlatformsPros Cons
$15 per monitored device. Volume discounts available.Deployed via dedicated appliances or VMware virtual appliances. Monitors any SNMP device I've found and does a great job with Windows-specific instrumentation too.
  • Multitenant management and billing
  • Fine-grained delegated monitoring
  • Context-sensitive, user-specific dashboards
  • SNMP monitoring even without a fancy MIB
  • Visibility into underlying virtualization platforms (VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V)
  • VMotion-sensitive VMware monitoring
  • Service-based performance monitoring (e.g. Exchange email delivery times)
  • Vblock and FlexPod support
  • Monitors multivendor videoconferencing networks (VTC- and VoIP-specific metrics)
  • Installation under 15 minutes, from raw metal to running
  • Updates have been flawless and hitless, no restarting required
  • Dashboards currently based on Adobe Flash, but HTML5 coming
  • Flow support is optional and part of an OEM agreement
  • More expensive than WhatsUp Gold

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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