October 20, 2009
Nimsoft has launched a Unified Monitoring dashboard (shown above) that allows managed service providers to track the health of on-premise systems and cloud applications — from Google Apps to Salesforce.com. In recent months, several vendors have told me they’re working on similar dashboards but I saw a demo of the Nimsoft offering last week and it seemed to work as advertised. Here are some quick thoughts on the effort.
First, some background: As customers begin to blend on-premise and SaaS applications, it’s increasingly difficult for them to get a single view for how their networks and applications are performing. Nimsoft’s Unified Monitoring dashboard seems to address that challenge.
According to a Nimsoft press release:
“By extending monitoring from the virtualized datacenter to the cloud, customers will gain complete visibility over their entire IT infrastructure, enabling them to measure and improve service delivery, allocate computing resources for maximum performance, and enforce service level agreements (SLAs).”
Nimsoft has covered most of the major bases with the Unified Monitoring effort, promoting the ability to monitor Amazon Web Services, Google, Rackspace and Salesforce.com applications.
Nimsoft’s Unified Monitoring effort also includes APIs (application programming interfaces) that allow third-parties and customers to plug additional applications and services into the monitoring system.
Roughly 18 percent of MSPs already monitor customers’ cloud applications, according to a May 2009 MSPmentor reader poll. Several MSP software providers have been working hard to monitor cloud systems. Level Platforms, for instance, in early 2009 announced an effort to monitor Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which features hosted Exchange, hosted SharePoint and other major Microsoft applications.
Potential Questions… And Answers
Now the big questions:
Will customers actually pay MSPs to monitor commercial applications like Salesforce.com?
After all, shouldn’t Salesforce.com itself work to ensure its applications are responsive and available to customers?
Those questions may be beside the point. Even if MSPs can’t charge their customers for monitoring third-party cloud applications, I suspect MSPs will still use these cloud monitoring tools in order to maintain a firm grip on their end-customers.
Assuming the cloud monitoring tools work as advertised, an MSP can proactively alert customers when their SaaS providers aren’t meeting SLAs (service level agreements). Also, MSPs can use the cloud monitoring tools to help end-customers make more informed decisions as they’re choosing their cloud options.
I suspect Nimsoft Unified Monitoring is the first of many competing announcements we’ll see in the market over the next few months. Finally, a single dashboard for all application and network monitoring seems to be taking shape.
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