Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Remote Monitoring - To Agent or Not To Agent?

So I've been using Level Platform's Managed Workplace to remotely manage and monitor my client's systems and I'm wondering now whether that was the best or just the most convenient system.

Did I get sold?

I'm starting to look at the other options again. I was turned off by N-able a while ago because they required that I buy this big package up front. I own a small business and don't want to invest more than I have to. If I can buy it as-required and by-the-month I will. There's no datacenter at Redwood. After looking at my options just over a year ago I came upon Ingram Micro's Seismic program and their hosted Managed Workplace. At the time Kaseya was really off the radar for me. I'm not sure why I didn't look in to it further. So, now I have LPI remotely hosted by Ingram Micro. The hosting is reliable although they had some trouble with the upgrade to MW2009R1 and they won't be going to R2 until later this quarter or sometime in Q4 apparently.

Did I miss the boat by not choosing Kaseya or Zenith Infotech? I thought one of the benefits of LPI was that it was agentless. But is that really a benefit? I don't think it'd be a big deal to install an agent on all the machines I want to manage. And if that agent gave me remote management options I don't have with an agentless system it might be worth it. I'm starting to watch the Kaseya demos and wondering what the real cost of this extra functionality is. Here are a couple quick items I've found that are interesting:
  • Kaseya shows you product keys for installed Microsoft product in it's inventory
  • You can message your installed agents
  • Integrated backup & disaster recovery option with virtualization and offsite replication via Acronis True Image
  • Integrated antivirus / endpoint security option
I need to do more research on Kaseya and look at some user reviews before I really consider it. I've looked at Zenith before and I currently use their BDR at a couple clients. I'm not crazy about their offshore support, but I understand that the price reflects their lower cost of providing service... potentially increasing my profitability. But is it really worth it?

I'm not competing with other MSPs on price. Redwood provides an experience that our customers appreciate. We do save them money in some cases, mostly through increased productivity gained through maintenance and automation. In some cases, we replace in-house support and save even more.

What are your experiences with agent vs. agentless remote monitoring tools? I'm not looking for in-depth evaluations of products, really more of a discussion of the technologies they use. Comparisons of individual products will have to wait for another day.

1 comment:

  1. Once you see what you can do with an agent you will never go back :)

    I'd encourage you to check out the product yourself, Scott.

    You can use the hosted evaluation on our website without having to even setup a server - you just go straight to deploying agents in your LAN (can be pushed silently and transparent to the end-user). UI and Agent Systray Icon rebrandable. The agent is 2MB. Memory usage 2-10MB. Extremely low CPU load. No .NET requirements. No AD requirements. No on-site server/appliance at any of your remote locations. No reliance on WSUS. All traffic fully encrypted from agent->server.

    You'll see a free 30 day trial link on our home page. Fill out a small form and be sure to select that you are a service provider.

    There is a lot to get familiar with so please setup an appointment with the sales rep who should email you to go through an initial walk through of the product or email me directly.

    Benjamin Lavalley, Sr. Sales Engineer, Kaseya
    benjamin dot lavalley at kaseya dot com


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