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SCOM Alternatives

Posted on 2011-04-19
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I run a small company network (90 users) and a offsite data center which houses our production application. In both sites we have the usual mix of web servers, database servers, domain controllers, file servers, Exchange servers, etc. All Microsoft shop. For monitoring both sites, we have been looking for an application monitoring tool. I have been evaluating Microsoft SCOM 2007 R2 but I have not been very happy with the product. It's slow, unreliable, and does not have a intuitive interface. Seems like I would need to take a full course just to get started. However when it does work, the application diagnostics that SCOM provides are very detailed and useful.

I have also been evaluating Solarwinds Orion, which has a fantastic interface and intuitive architecture, but seems to have stemmed from network infrastructure monitoring and is not as detailed on the application side.

Does anyone have any recommendations for something in between? We want to monitor IIS, MS SQL Server, Active Directory, and general server health. Thanks in advance.
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Question by:MacGyverSolutions
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by:montezz
ID: 35429338
I evaluated Solarwinds and came to the same conclusion as you. What's Up Gold Premium supports application level monitoring and lets you run routines on SQL, Sharepoint, Exchange, etc. Check out the demo.
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by:MacGyverSolutions
ID: 35434872
Thanks for the suggestion montezz. WUG looks like a nice application, however it seems to only track basics like CPU and disk utilization, and doesn't tap into anything deeper using WMI. Does this sound accurate or am I not seeing the right options? SCOM does get this deeper information, however it's a huge pain to configure and use.
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by:montezz
ID: 35436236
I probably should emphasize the 'Premium' part. WUG basic does not allow WMI or application level monitoring, but Premium does. We recently upgraded from basic to Prmium and you get a huge amount of features. You can set monitoring and trapping on app level (email tests, SQL Queries, etc) or hardware level (fan failure, overheatin warning etc)

If you have the Premium demo installed go like this to see the monitor features: Configure>Active Monitor Library>New
There you will see alist like this and you can start testing! Good Luck

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by:MacGyverSolutions
ID: 35457844
Sorry, I guess I didn't explain this well. A major selling point of SCOM and even Orion is that many monitors come preconfigured out of the box for various services. I could add a WMI monitor to a server  (or even a server template) in WUG but I'd need to already know what to be looking for. I'll still give it a shot though, and configure a bunch of monitors by hand to see how much coverage I can create.
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by:montezz
ID: 35471750
You seem to be correct, MacGyverSolutions. I looked around at the WUG resource library and the forums, and I do not see any WMI templates. Sorry I misunderstood.
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by:vak73
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by:RobMobility
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by:MacGyverSolutions
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Excellent answers - those are both products that I have looked at. For others seeking similar tools, I found ManageEngine a bit unrefined, and Hyperic looked very good but had errors during the install so I gave up on it.

If anyone has more monitoring suggestions for the community, keep adding them to this thread!

I spoke to a SolarWinds representative who showed me how to use the Orion APM properly, and I'm back to trying it out. It actually does have detailed application-level monitoring. The level of detail is a bit short of what SCOM has to offer, but the reduction in headaches makes up for it.
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RobMobility earned 668 total points
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Hi,

A set of descriptions and links on here which may be of interest:

http://www.monitortools.com/application/

Regards,


RobMobility.
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Expert Comment

by:MU-IT
ID: 35517986
Cacti will do most of this for you, I haven't seen much along the lines of AD information, but we use Cacti extensively.

www.cacti.net

We use various plugins, too:  

Threshold, to send us alerts on disk space and high cpu,
Monitor, to send us up/down/restart notices, and a one-screen status page.
Weathermap, to give us a 30,000' view of what's going on.
MacTrack, to catalog ARP entries and allow us to alert on the connection of any MAC.

Between this and OpenAudit, we've got a bunch of data being gathered for very little cost (hardware).  OpenAudit.org.



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by:MacGyverSolutions
ID: 35864967
Hopefully this will help others looking for similar tools in the near future.
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Author Closing Comment

by:MacGyverSolutions
ID: 35884949
Hopefully this will help others looking for similar tools in the near future.
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