Nimsoft Delivers Business View of IT with BSM Express
April 21, 2009 Alex Woodie
Fast growing systems management software firm Nimsoft today is unveiling BSM Express, a new business service management (BSM) offering designed to show executives and other non-technical decision makers, via graphics and dashboards, how business is going, whether transactions are flowing as planned, and where problems in their IT infrastructure are originating. The product is delivered as part of Nimsoft’s overall systems monitoring suite, which gathers metrics from all major server platforms, including IBM i.
BSM Express is an optional add-on for the Nimsoft Monitoring Solutions (NMS) suite (formerly NimBUS) that gives graphical representations to the business functions that are executed and automated by IT–or the mix of servers, operating systems, databases, middleware, and packaged and custom-written applications that process transactions, track inventory, store customer data, and count your money at the end of a day.
While a programmer or systems administrator may get a geeky thrill out of seeing a router’s I/O or a server’s disk arm utilization shoot up following the launch of an e-commerce Web site–possibly indicating heavy traffic, with credit card orders to follow–that doesn’t really help a businessman who is unfamiliar with those metrics or how they might reflect the company’s operational and financial health.
“They say, ‘That’s all interesting, but what I need to know is about my online delivery process–orders received, and fulfillment.’ That’s the way the business guy thinks. They think in supply chain terminology,” says Chris O’Connell, director of product management for Nimsoft. “Instead of talking about performance, BSM Express turns it around and starts talking about average transaction times, average users signed in, and dollars and cents. It translates the technology stuff into business terms.”
The NMS suite discovers the various components of an organization’s IT infrastructure and builds a business process model that can be defined at a very granular level, O’Connell says. This deep understanding of the IT infrastructure helps BSM Express to assign business meaning to IT events through the dashboard.
“It could say, average transactions on Monday were 50,000, and on Tuesday, 100,000,” he says. “If any of those go out of norm, then move the bar down and tell me there’s something wrong and give me some flashing lights to show me what components of the business service is causing the problem. So not only are we making it simple, but we’re making it easy to define what’s healthy business and what’s unhealthy business.”
Nimsoft, which was founded 10 years ago in Norway and today is based in Redwood City, California, bills itself as the more flexible and affordable alterative to the “Big Four” systems management vendors, BMC Software, CA, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard. The company has about 800 customers (primarily mid market organizations with 1,000 to 10,000 employees), and had revenues of $50 million last year. It’s funded in part by Goldman Sachs, and has received a bevy of awards for rapid growth over the last year.
BSM Express is based on technology Nimsoft acquired with last April’s acquisition of Indicative Software. The software utilizes Adobe‘s Flex user interface technology, the Apache Web server, and an embedded configuration database. Configuration and customization is handled through a graphical wizard.
While Nimsoft may not be well known to most IBM AS/400 shops, the company offers fairly deep coverage of the midrange server platform, including message queues, log files, jobs, queues, directories, file integrity, CPW utilization, DASD, and other real-time and historic performance metrics unique to the platform, according to a Nimsoft whitepaper on its support for the AS/400. If a given performance threshold on the AS/400 is exceeded, the NMS suite has the capability to signal an alarm in the PC-based console, or send a message via e-mail, SMS, or pagers. The software also supports Windows, Unix, Linux, and Netware platforms.
Approximately 20 percent of Nimsoft’s customers have an AS/400 somewhere in their infrastructure, says O’Connell, an Austin, Texas-based Brit who left BMC Software six months ago for the job at Nimsoft. “We do the best we can to promote the fact we support it [the AS/400],” he says. “I know for a fact BMC doesn’t. We enjoy some wins against some companies that just never will support it.”
BSM Express will add about $10,000 to the cost of NMS, which itself costs about $90,000. Customers can download BSM Express from www.nimsoft.com.