14 BSM Service Providers to Watch

I hate rankings. Maybe that’s because I’ve always hated to be ranked (except of course when it’s really worked out in my favor!). But even then, I’ve had second thoughts. Not everything, after all, is a swim-meet.

The vendors here certainly can’t be understood in swim-meet fashion. While the Business Service Management Service Impact (BSM SI) Radar is the equivalent of EMA competitors’ offerings in which vendors are ranked along two linear axes, our radars are best used to understand design points as they relate to value, rather than more linear types of rankings. Although we have four categories — value leader, strong value, selective value, and limited value — I also gave out awards, e.g., “Best Operational BSM” to highlight how each vendor stands apart. In any case, here is the design criteria against which all vendors here were assessed:

  • Support for service monitoring from a cross-domain perspective;
  • Reconciles information from multiple sources;
  • Provides some insights into user experience;
  • Automates linkages between IT service performance and SLA or other business outcomes;
  • Captures application/infrastructure interdependencies;
  • Supports some level of policy-driven automation; and
  • Supports multiple roles across IT and the business.

Support for CMDB/CMS-related integration didn’t hurt either and having a native CMDB gave a few extra points, but mostly I looked for citizenship in a larger, multivendor, cross-domain universe. What I cared most about was the growing focus on service modeling, to combine logical and physical interdependencies.

Any one of these vendors could be the best choice for you, depending on goals, priorities, and existing investments. Either way, they’re all worth looking at. In speaking to folks at over 30 deployments, I might also add that how successful you’ll be in a Service Impact initiative also depends a bit on you. Not surprisingly, the best deployments typically came from IT managers with clear goals and a disciplined well-defined approach to reaching them.

So, without further ado, here is very brief summary of the BSM Service Impact final fourteen (ranked alphabetically to avoid any favoritism and upset PR folks!):

AccelOps – AccelOps is focused on the mid-tier but has a growing acceptance in larger enterprises. It is one of the newest (and fastest moving) of those I reviewed. It already has a defined capability for CMDB support, application dependency mapping, and strong cross-domain monitoring. On cost and time-to-deployment it outclassed all the “higher end” solutions. Ranking AccelOps is like trying to freeze a bird in flight – and it was one of the six Value Leaders.

ASG – ASG has a perfect balance of platform-like monitoring, with strong support for application performance, application dependency mapping and CMDB capabilities, and an admirable focus on third-party integration. Still limited by its size and breadth of services/consulting partnerships, it was one of the eight Strong Value vendors and justly received the Best BSM Design award.

CA Technologies – CA’s Spectrum Service Assurance Manager (SSA) was introduced in second quarter of 2009, which gave it a head start over other platform competitors in Service Impact. SSA is a true, model-based BSM dashboard with rapidly expanding functionality supported by a company-wide architectural initiative. Strong on overall monitoring and user experience, as well, CA was the only platform to get Value Leader class for this June’s assessment.

Compuware – Compuware has one of the most innovative monitoring capabilities for integrated application-to-infrastructure performance in the industry, and is already a leader in user experience management. Then, last year, it acquired Gomez, a SaaS solution with unique reach for transactional analysis outside the firewall. Prior to this, Compuware got strong, model-based assimilation from its Proxima acquisition. Compuware was a Value Leader with Best Overall Monitoring.

FireScope – No one is more committed than FireScope to delivering cost effective BSM SI, including both its own automated discovery and monitoring and CMDB support with strong Web services for integration. FireScope is a strong value and a great choice for price-sensitive BSM investments.

HP – The HP BSM 9.0 launch in June virtually coincided with this report. Most notable was its run-time service model which extends its UCMDB modeling to support more requirements for performance management and cloud virtualization. Strong on user experience and monitoring overall, HP was surpassingly rich in functionality and architecture. It is a Strong Value and receives the Best in Automation award.

IBM – IBM’s unique advantages in scope, overall software innovation, and strong services and consulting also pay off richly in BSM SI. Moreover, IBM has more under the covers than it tends to communicate to the outside world in terms of advanced analytics — beyond Netcool’s strengths in cross-domain event correlation. IBM was a strong value with best business impact, leveraging in part its unique vertically focused initiative to monitor business as well as IT infrastructures.

Interlink Software – Interlink is a small, UK-based vendor, which is probably its one single most glaring limitation (the small part not the UK-based that is). Beyond that it has an architecture, a vision and functionality worthy of Rolls Royce, with its Business Enterprise Server and Service Configuration Manager. Interlink is a Value Leader and garnered the Most Innovative award.

Netuitive – Netuitive is a natural fit for Service Impact given its ability to assimilate performance-related information from a wide variety of sources without using agents of its own. And, as it points out, most of its customers rightly view this as a plus. Netuitive can also correlate service performance and business outcomes dynamically. The company is a Strong Value and received the Best Analytics award.

Novell – Novell’s portfolio includes versatile role-aware dashboards, solid correlation and analytics, a CMDB, social networking capabilities, as well as more than 70 fully supported adapters designed to optimized data inputs from other monitoring tools. Novell therefore excels in enabling a unified approach to service management across many diverse investments. It earned a Value Leader position and the Best BSM SI Integration award.

OpTier – OpTier’s Business Transaction Management (BTM) suite is powerful, well focused, and clean. It’s also the single most effective transaction monitoring solution on my BSM radar, with automated linkages to SLA and business impact, capacity, interdependencies through its “living topology”. Not surprisingly, OptTier, is a Strong Value garnered the Best BSM Transaction Management award.

OPNET – OPNET has grown well beyond its original network-centric and capacity planning roots with a powerful portfolio to support transaction monitoring, application flows, and application dependency insights. VNE server’s capabilities to assimilate topology and other information from the bottom up doesn’t hurt, either. OPNET is a Value Leader and Best Operational BSM SI recipient.

Prelert – Prelert’s ranking as Specific Value is based on its newness to market (as it’s just emerging now) and even more on the fact that it is primarily a diagnostic tool more than a true BSM SI suite at this point in its evolution. The Prelert Causality Analyzer is basically targeted at BSM SI diagnostics, with compelling capabilities to assimilate both events and time series data to tell the story of how and when a problem occurred.

Zyrion – Zyrion’s Traverse is one of the most complete offerings in this report bar none for effective application performance monitoring with an open API to support custom applications. It also provides a pragmatic “container” approach to capturing service interdependencies and setting rules around unique services. Zyrion is a Strong Value and receives the Best Mid-Tier BSM SI award.