Oct 26, 2007 (08:10 PM EDT)
APM Rolling Review: Up On Cloud Nimbus
Read the Original Article at InformationWeek
Nimbus focuses on real-time systems monitoring and reporting; service-level agreement definition, monitoring, and reporting; and end-to-end response-time measurements. All these metrics are presented via a configurable and customizable dashboard for business service and operations performance.
To collect data from your application environment, Nimbus relies on a variety of agents and polling methods, but it doesn't employ the network traffic monitoring seen in earlier reviews. Popular out-of-the-box applications, including Microsoft Exchange, Internet Information Services, and Active Directory, are monitored via Nimbus agents, or "probes" in Nimsoft-speak. Additional probes for WebSphere, Citrix, and SAP are available. Nimsoft also tracks a variety of functions specific to Linux, Unix, and Windows systems, as well as all common databases, and it monitors network operations.
Nimbus also has a flexible and robust SLA reporting engine. It enabled us to manually build application service-level agreements by coordinating groups of monitored components into a comprehensive service picture. We could report SLA performance during defined business hours and exclude particular time slots, such as maintenance windows. Nimbus also can exclude a particular component, during a specified time range, within a group of elements that operate under an SLA. This granularity is helpful for IT organizations that may want to exclude an application component that failed because of a customer-generated outage that falls outside its SLA. This happens all too frequently, yet many APM tools are unable to manage this scenario.
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Information garnered from these distinct methods of data collection provided us visibility into end-to-end application performance as well as detailed network performance. This, combined with the Nimbus SLA engine, gave us the big picture on how business-critical systems performed.
In terms of out-of-the-box capabilities, probes come with a set of preconfigured thresholds and monitored values that are easily customizable. The Nimbus architecture includes the use of a publish/subscribe model for data communication. When an application within the Nimbus domain has new data to share, it's automatically published once the messaging bus and all subscribers receive it. This feature reduces the overhead in communicating within Nimbus components and is so far unique among APM products tested. We also could configure all publications and subscriptions via a single Nimsoft man- agement console or Web-enabled interface.
When assessing the price, we initially thought Nimsoft left off some zeros. However, the price of Nimbus as tested is indeed approximately $20,000. This includes the base application; synthetic transactions; and probes for IIS, MS-SQL, Windows server, and network device monitoring.