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Paglo Public Beta – SaaS-based IT Management "Search"


I spoke with Paglo today around the public beta release of their SaaS IT Management service. As you may recall from last time we talked with them, the theme they’re working under is search, much like Splunk except hosted online instead of installed behind the firewall. See below for more competitive comments.

Of course, there’s an agent – they call it a “crawler” – to install behind your firewall to collect the raw metrics and data. The name “crawler” makes it seem like search-driven agent, looking across flat-files and web sites. In reality, it’s just an IT management agent like any other: it collects from the usual protocols of WMI, SNMP, SSH, LDAP/AD, and other sources.


My previous note is a bit more comprehensive as far as an intro. But, here are some quick highlights and notes from today:

  • As mentioned last time, one of the novel areas for Paglo is taking advantage of every user’s data and workflow being in the same place, it being SaaS. They’d called the collaborative IT management concept “social solving” (crowd sourcing trouble-shooting), and now they’ve christened it “Share-its,” which seems ripe for some kind of pun, but I can’t quit figure it out ;> Users can share searches, alerts, and dashboards (charts) at the moment. They can share them in their own group or with the larger Paglo community.
  • Alerts – As expected, when something bad is detected, you can fire off emails and whatnots. These can work with their query language, PQL, meaning you can cook up non-trival rules.
  • Auditing is a popular scenario in this space and the Paglo boys walked through it. For example, find out who installed the rouge Skype instance that’s chewing up network bandwidth. Make sure machines are up-to-date. The flip-side of auditing is what I broadly updating those devices that are in a bad state. So far, most of the IT management offerings here fall short on updating: Microsoft tends to dominate here which tends to work as the SMB-space is largely (thought to be) Windows dominated.
  • As the FAQ says, Paglo plans to eventually charge a monthly rate for access, but still keep some type of – I’m guessing – limited functionality edition for free.
  • Paglo calls its asset management section “Inventory”. It finds devices out there and allows you to navigate top-down, digging around in the different sub-devices and applications that devices has.
  • Performance metrics and charts – more than just providing “search,” Paglo’s dashboards and other interfaces serve up the usual historic charts of various metrics. This is worth calling out to point out that Paglo isn’t just search.
  • The crawler itself is GPL’ed, and there’s what looks like extensive documentation for the APIs, data models, and the previously mentioned query language. The plugin architecture uses ruby. Additionally, there’s a web services API for those who want to avoid using the crawler…or make their own.


Paglo is solidly slotting itself next to Spiceworks, PacketTrap, and low-end uses of Splunk, the open source IT management platforms, NetCraft’s Versiera, and SMB offerings like Microsoft System Center Essentials.

Of course, each of those parties would rattle off how they’re different and comfortibly niched-in to a market. Indeed, there’s numerous differentiation vectors – asset-centric approaches, SaaS or on-primise, network management centric, GUI or web applications, management or only monitoring, community momentum and integration, free or cost, etc. – but the fact of the matter is, each of them is doing one thing: helping people who manage IT in the small and mid-market do their job. They all compete for that attention (first) and any cash available (second).

Pulling down to specific comparisions: what I saw today put Paglo pretty well on the path to be up against Splunk and Spiceworks with regards to target market, functionality, and even look and feel.

Splunk is a bit more on the high-end than Paglo in targeting, but the search angle definitly matches. Splunk has the benefit of time to develop different uses, functionality, and stories, like using Splunk to do desired configuration drift monitoring.

The Spiceworks match is more on the target market, the inventory (or “asset” as Spiceworks would call it) management, alerting, and aside from search, overall functionality. Check out this side-by-side, albeit from an older Spiceworks screenshot:

Paglo Inventory

Spiceworks 1.5: Dashboard/homepage

Spiceworks, being asset-oriented instead of search oriented feels different, but seeks to fill the same general need. Spiceworks is, of course, way ahead in maturity than Paglo.

Differentiation, SaaS, and Open(er)

Paglo’s differentiators are being SaaS-based, the open source crawler, and the general open feel of the platform.

Cracking the SaaS-based IT Management nut has been difficult over the years and it’s left a trail of failures, like Klir, and products put out to pasture (including PATROL Express, which I used to work on while at BMC). FiveRuns had a go at being a general SaaS-based IT Management platform, but then niched-in to managing rails. SaaS has plenty of potential advantages, not least of which are the collaborative opportunities that Paglo cashes in on, like sharing search queries among the over-all community.

The open nature of Paglo could be one angle to crack the SaaS nut. Hosting the core platform should reduce the hassle of getting up and running, and keeping the system running. The open source (GPL) crawler, with it’s ruby-based plugin architecture, and the public-web web services should make it easily extensible and enable open innovation at the edge. Indeed, if competitive issues can be whacked out, other IT management people might want to take a look to see if integration is quick-and-easy: if so, having more, easier to use consoles can be nice.

Missing Management

What’s missing is management, or “doing stuff” in reaction to the IT metrics Paglo finds. This is the common ailment of most all new, startup-types in the IT Management world. Writing back to the infrastructure is a big step, but it’s a big value.

Even being able to cross-launch into something is a polished duct-tape solution, like, say, Microsoft WSUS for patching, or into a help desk. (Here, the Spiceworks comparison comes up again as they’ve had time to incrementally add in more advanced features such as help-desk.

And, to further my usual flip-through the RedMonk client-dex, surely one of these desired state drift companies can figure out Puppet integration, the framework that manages 5,000+ desktops at Google in addition to more desktops and servers elsewhere.

Of course, Paglo isn’t even 1.0 yet. We can’t have cake before salad, I guess.

Getting to 1.0

Paglo opened up their beta to the public yesterday. During the private beta, they had around 800 companies enroll and (I assume, I didn’t clarify) test it out. After opening up the beta, they told me, they’ve had 100’s of new sign-ups.

Though they don’t have a specific date for GA, I suspect it’ll be late summer or early fall. The beta is free, but as noted above, at some point their plan is to start charging a monthly rate, probably based on the number of devices “searched.”

Hopefully by 1.0 Paglo’s crawler will run on more platforms than just Windows. Aside from my own use-case of wanting to run it on a Mac, I think many of the green-field IT management customers out – esp. for round-corner, big-font SaaSers like Paglo – that are much more heterogenous than Windows boxes. Additionally, it’d be good to see at least a handful of plugins contributed by 3rd parties or even Paglo itself. For example, SaaS-themed ones would be nice: monitoring SalesForce, Google Docs, Adobe Buzzword and Share, etc.

All that said, once Paglo hits 1.0, it’ll be worth a few tire kicks. Anything that promises simplicity that still gets the job done in IT management is worth a few of those.

Now Them’s Some Graphics

Finally, Paglo is pretty crafty with their graphic artistry. While that has the immediate effect of having their UI look pretty – which is, believe me, a feature in IT Management – it has nice side-effects likes excellently corny clip-art, e.g.:


Disclaimer: Spiceworks, BMC, FiveRuns, and Splunk are clients, as are Zenoss, GroundWork, and Reductive Labs.

Categories: Collaborative, Systems Management.

Tags: , , ,

Comment Feed

8 Responses

  1. Michael: Glad to see your summary on Paglo. With the doors closing at Klir, I am cheering for their success in delivering a SaaS IT management solution. The market is ripe and the long term possibilities are provocative. Given the commonalities of the problems encountered by IT pros and their willingness to participate in online communities, I am optimistic that Paglo's "Share ITs" will be successful. Good luck!

    James MaioccoMay 29, 2008 @ 10:22 am
  2. great write up Cote. the illustrations really remind me of the old house style at Illuminata. so much so that at first i was taken aback you had lifted some of their art…

  3. Thanks!

  4. I've checked out Paglo and I have to say it's pretty cool – letting me see the devices on our network (like the VoIP phones) and processes running on my boxes – all in a nicely designed web interface.

    Yes, Splunk and Paglo both claim to be the "first IT search engine" but in reality I don't perceive us as direct competitors.

    Splunk provides indexing and storage (like a database) for IT related events. Logfiles or device detection logs, or any other timeline based textual data can be stored in Splunk for retrieval later – which extends Splunk's use well beyond the IT management vertical. At its core Splunk provides a way to index and search tons of unstructured data, and gives users a way to dynamically apply structure to the searches they do with the product. Splunk also comes with a nice REST interface you can program against which makes it infinitely configurable to a particular application.

    While the policies at some enterprises might allow device reports to be sent over the Internet, it would be a real stretch to ask those same companies to send all their sensitive event data to the same service.

    As James says, Paglo is more of a management dashboard for my IT devices and processes than it is a search engine for IT event data. Perhaps it's both company's generic use of "IT Search" that confuses people on this point.

    Regardless, kudos to the Paglo guys. They have a good looking, useful product that provides real value to the management vertical.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] FiveRuns started down this path, but then went off the rails (hey-o!). There’s also Paglo who’s just now starting out as an IT Management SaaS, using search to boot-strap itself into […]

  2. […] you may recall, Paglo started out as a general IT management monitoring platform, hosted as a SaaS. While it was […]

  3. […] SaaS. Paglo started out as a search driven monitoring offering (drawing comparisons to Splunk), started generalizing, and added in things like log management and started a white-label offering for Managed Service […]

  4. […] SaaS. Paglo started out as a search driven monitoring offering (drawing comparisons to Splunk), started generalizing, and added in things like log management and started a white-label offering for Managed Service […]