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ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corporation, offers a variety of products aimed at IT management including hardware, software, and physical as well as virtual infrastructure. ManageEngine OpManager (which begins at $1,995 for up to 50 devices) primarily focuses on infrastructure management. The tool is a good choice for IT generalists because it provides coverage for infrastructure management, network monitoring, and application performance management (APM) with the APM plug-in.

Unfortunately, ManageEngine OpManager does not provide coverage of web-based infrastructure as does Stackify Retrace and Idera Uptime Infrastructure Monitor, but there are other products in the ManageEngine suite that do. ManageEngine OpManager also did not win our Editors’ Choice award in our infrastructure management roundup, a distinction we gave instead to MMSoft Pulseway.

The ManageEngine OpManager Applications Manager plug-in brings a long list of supported commercial applications including databases from IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle as well as a number of open-source products. Supported application servers include BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, JBoss, and Tomcat. The supported ERP products list consists of Oracle, SAP, and Siebel. To make day-to-day management easier, the ManageEngine PitStop website provides searchable, user-contributed content including downloadable scripts and templates plus a question-and-answer forum.

The figure below shows the standalone architecture of ManageEngine OpManager and where the plug-ins fit. ManageEngine OpManager is written in Java and uses a local installation of Tomcat to provide the web interface. A local database stores all collected information and provides a communication path between the main ManageEngine OpManager application and the plug-ins.

Installing OpManager

As with most of the other programs in this roundup, you must install the server portion of ManageEngine OpManager on either a Windows or Linux server, which can be either physical or virtual. I installed the server manager piece on a Windows Server 2012 R2 virtual machine (VM) running on a VMware ESXi server. ManageEngine OpManager ships with a MySQL database and uses it by default, but can be configured to use SQL Server if you already have it installed. Additional functionality such as monitoring network flows (Netflow), sFlow, or application performance management (APM) require the downloading of a plug-in.

When we retested ManageEngine OpManager for this update, it was installed on a physical machine: a Dell PowerEdge T30 running Windows Server 2016.

The Netflow and APM plug-ins must be installed separately and won’t install if the ManageEngine OpManager service is running. This service is automatically started on boot, and must be stopped using the Windows Service Manager. One really nice touch is the inclusion of batch files to help configure hardware, like a switch to enable management features such as sFlow. Using the sFlowEnable.bat file, I was able to turn on sFlow data on my HP Procurve 3800 switch with this command:

sFlowEnable.bat 161 public 9996 4096

Most of the monitoring uses SNMP on the managed devices, and ManageEngine OpManager’s auto discovery function will find every manageable device on the network. In addition, it will find IP devices that aren’t manageable, and it will include them on the dashboard to show that they’re alive. You tell ManageEngine OpManager where to look for devices by giving it an IP address range, and it will search for every device in that range.

Adding service monitors consists of selecting from a list of available services on the target system and then enabling monitoring for that specific service. Workflows provide another way of acting on a wide variety of monitored items including the ability to execute actions such as stopping or starting a service. The workflow editor uses graphical elements to get the state of a specific item and then take action based on the result.

ManageEngine OpManager has a Representational State Transfer (REST) interface for connecting with other applications. The figure below shows the REST API reference page and the tabs for generating an API key and an example API form. The REST interface makes it possible, once configured, to get data into and out of ManageEngine OpManager. You’ll find a number of examples on the ManageEngine PitStop website to help get you started.

A Pleasant, Configurable Interface

The graphics for ManageEngine OpManager’s dashboard are highly configurable and easy to navigate, similar to what you’ll find in Spiceworks Network Monitor , which should make it a pleasant tool to work with day to day. The default page comes with a number of widgets including several with sample data to give you a feel for the types of information that can be displayed. If you don’t like the arrangements, simply click and drag the widgets to a better location. Widgets can be removed and added with a few clicks.

The user interface (UI) was improved since the initial review and it’s now even more pleasant to use. Also, most devices on the screen can now be clicked through to reveal details about their operation.

On the virtualization front, you’ll find support for Cisco UCS, Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and VMware vCenter. I was able to quickly add multiple Windows servers including one running Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3. Virtual machine (VM) status was easily displayed along with key information about the Hyper-V host. Alerts related to virtualization appear on the main dashboard to notify an administrator of any problems.
Monitoring a network with ManageEngine OpManager is a pleasure. I was able to see information about the network top bandwidth hogs at the port level and then see information about individual ports on a secondary page.

The figure below shows the main page for my HP 3800 switch with a list of ports and connected MAC addresses. The NetFlow Analyzer plugin adds the ability to utilize flow information from Cisco-compatible switches. Other network related plug-ins include Network Configuration Management (NCM) for maintaining configuration files for switches and other networking hardware plus an IP Address Management (IPAM) feature for managing IP addresses on your network.

ManageEngine OpManager has over 100 reporting profiles provided in the box. Custom reports based on a wide range of monitored parameters can be quickly created from the administrator’s main page. Any report can be scheduled and then automatically emailed in either PDF or Microsoft Excel format. It definitely outshines competitor MMSoft Pulseway in both the number and ease of use in the reporting category.

Varied Pricing

Pricing starts at $1,995 for up to 50 devices and goes up to $16,495 for a maximum of 500 devices. A Free edition lets you perform basic monitoring of up to 10 devices for a single user, while for large enterprises you’ll pay $29,995 for up to 1,000 devices. The list of available add-ons and their prices are as follows:

  • 3D Datacenter Builder – $199

  • Workflow Automation – $495

  • Log File Monitoring – $25

  • Wide Area Network (WAN) Round Trip Time (RTT) Monitoring – $100

  • VoIP Monitoring – $100

  • Social IT – $99

  • Root Cause Analysis – $995

  • Failover – $3,995

  • Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) Monitoring – $995

These prices are for the Essential edition. The Enterprise edition includes the Failover add-on, and you get all add-ons as a part of the Large Enterprise edition.

Overall, ManageEngine OpManager covers a lot of bases but does have a few missing pieces in the base product compared to some of the other offerings in this infrastructure management roundup.

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