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Netreo Briefing

Last week I spoke with Kevin Kinsey, CEO of Netreo. Netreo announced an OnDemand (hosted or SaaS) version of their network management platform, OmniCenter.

Network Management

I often refer to the whole slew of applications that help you monitor and take care of your IT’s health as “systems management,” but it’s worth calling out the category of network management.

It’s easy to figure out what it means: monitoring your routers, network performance, and any device related to sending or receiving data over the wire. This is different than application management (monitoring the performance and health of “applications” like databases, ERP, or custom built systems) and desktop management (now-a-days, mostly keeping Windows desktops up to date to defend against viruses and necromancers).

Netreo, OmniCenter

Netreo is solidly in the network management camp: there’s no Oracle or Java monitoring, just pure network concerns. This is just dandy if that’s what you’re looking for or need to compliment another systems management stack.

What’s excited to me about Netreo’s announcement is that they’re now providing their software as a service for folks who don’t want to run their own OmniCenter instance. As you know, dear readers, I am all about the hosted systems management idea. I was, by chance, lucky enough to be involved in an early go at the idea when I worked on GuardianAngel and PATROLExpress at BMC.

Netreo doesn’t have the AJAX’ed up UI that I’ve been seeing from other management vendors. That said, they do have a nicely parred down UI based on a collection of different views over your network rather than the more traditional and bulky tree based navigation.

Working with Others: Making a Platform for SaaS Systems Management

Though I didn’t think of it during the call, as more and more management vendors create a hosted offering, I’d like to see more cooperations and services mashing-up between these applications. In the behind-the-firewall world, people like Zenoss, Hyperic, GroundWorks, and openQRM are seeking to build out platforms that others can plug into. But, integration in the hosted world has yet to emerge. Granted, I’m once again asking for the cart before the horse as the current crop of SaaS systems management has only been around for a little over a year.

That said, I’d like to see different hosters like FiveRuns, Netreo, and Versiera work together on at least getting JavaScript include level “integration.” A vendor like FiveRuns could only add value to their platform by letting users suck in information from network specialist like Netreo; the same goes the other direction for Netreo.

Systems management is a never ending tension between best-of-breed and good enough platforms. The Big 4 have an advantage here in that they can partner with and/or acquire and “integrate” (at least into their enterprise relationships if not technologically) best-of-breed products into their platforms. Smaller players are spread thin enough as it is without in-housing all of that worrying.

So, why in-house it? Instead, the way is partnering, standards, open APIs, and maybe even some open source for the common code.


Here are my raw notes on the call:


Disclaimer: FiveRuns, Zenoss, and BMC are clients.

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Categories: Ideas, Open Source, Systems Management.