Maxava Introduces Subscription-Based, Multi-Platform Systems Monitoring
March 16, 2016 Dan Burger
When does system monitoring become a big enough concern to an IBM i shop that specialized software would be considered? Often it’s when one person has the responsibility for monitoring multiple systems. It doesn’t really matter if the systems run on the same OS or if multiple platforms are involved. Multiple systems ratchet up the complexity. To take on the task, Maxava has stepped up its product development.
Available now is Maxava Monitor Mi8, a cloud-based, subscription-priced, system-monitoring software for IBM i. And within two to three months, it will add the capability to monitor Windows and Linux systems as well. Maxava is known for its high availability and disaster recovery expertise, but this is a standalone product designed for system and application monitoring. It features a dashboard view of active jobs and job queues, mobile capabilities, and an alert system that can be escalated through several channels.
The workflow process allows administrators to track and trace as each event is investigated, remediated, and eventually closed. It is not HA specific, which is what you might expect from an HA vendor.
“Mi8 was designed to include more than the HA subsystem,” Martin Norman, a Maxava service and support executive who spoke with IT Jungle on the phone last week, along with John Dominic, a vice president of business development, and Peter Kania, a product manager. “So now we can monitor any subsystem and messages from any other subsystem as well. We will expand to include monitoring of additional areas that are important to our customers,” Norman says.
“The entry point for us is IBM i. It’s always our focus,” Kania says. “What we know is that most of our IBM i customers are also running Windows, so there is a natural progression to have monitoring for Windows. We will be looking at other platforms and ascertaining the need for monitoring them also.”
A single product that monitors a small Windows server farm in addition to the IBM i is a good fit for many of the small to midsize IBM i shops and it also injects competition in a product category dominated by a single company that has bought up big chunks of what was once a competitive field, Dominic says in reference to HelpSystems, which has acquired system monitoring and managing software competitors Halcyon and CCSS.
“People looking for replacements for older products. It’s a good time to spread the net a little bit,” he says.
Pricing Mi8 in the software as a service model should get some attention for companies looking to replace CapEx costs with OpEx expenditures. Maxava has set the price at $150 per month per partition. The subscription-based pricing will use 12-month contracts.
Maxava business is heavy on managed service providers (MSPs) that have traditionally relied on the company for HA and DR to establish hosted services. As MSPs look to develop services beyond HA and DR, Dominic says Monitor Mi8 is a tool that MSPs can use to help IBM i shops manage their production systems, which is expected to be a growth area in the near future.
“A lot of traditional VARs have made the leap into the managed services field,” Dominic says. “They chop up a small box and host small production environments. We see these shops as good prospects for the monitoring software. They are looking for applications that drive services.
“There is growth in the lower end of the VAR market,” he continues. “Enable shops with no one to replace the retiring person who was the systems admin. A small managed service provider can take that on in a shared cloud and manage it independently, but they need automated tools that make it feasible. They can’t hire 20 people to manage 20 machines. They need to be able to manage 20 customers with one person.”
In addition to its business partner relationships with MSPs, Maxava has its own cloud business providing infrastructure to clients in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Dominic describes it as being linked to partners that are helping IBM i shops sunset systems or offload management. Maxava’s role is providing a combination or software, services and infrastructure so the partners can maintain their relationship with their clients.
“We have end user customers using our service in localized ways, but it’s not our goal to take over the infrastructure business. Our goal is to provide infrastructure when our partners can’t do that,” Dominic says. “Our cloud becomes the VAR’s cloud, which allows them to protect their business when they have customers who want a cloud. We want to give them an affordable service that will take them through the next 10 years.”