I’ve never been much for industry awards or the opinions of the various trade rags. I mean, when NetInfoCommWeek decides to compare open source network management platforms, we are never included, even though most of the time a Google search on “open source network management” has OpenNMS as the first hit. This despite spending zero money on marketing.
I’m not sure I’d even want them to check out our software, since quite often it is more of a beauty contest, and the “amazing” test lab with nearly 25 devices doesn’t exactly lend itself to demonstrating the strengths of OpenNMS, which starts to shine in the 2000 to 20,000 device range.
But I am often delighted when people who actually eat, live and breathe network management mention OpenNMS favorably. For example, when TechTarget interviewed 1300+ users and asked them what was their preferred network management platform, OpenNMS came out ahead of OpenView and Tivoli. This was from the viewpoint of people who actually use the software, not overworked and deadline driven reporters.
Last week we got a mention on Doug McClure’s list of 2009 Predictions as a possible contender for a Business Service Management (BSM) Lite platform. That was pretty cool, considering that the whole project is bootstrapped and community driven.
Doug’s is an opinion I value (I first met him at barcampESM and since he is in Atlanta Jeff gets to seem him occasionally), and his mention of our project was rather humbling. And I didn’t even blink at the word “Lite” since OpenNMS has a long way to go before we can replace all of OpenView and all of Tivoli.
We started this project to build a sustainable, free and open replacement for the major commercial management platforms. So of course we started on the most basic functions: the need for discovery and an inventory database, monitoring, event management and data collection. As was seen in the TechTarget award, this is enough for many folks.
However, we’d definitely like to move into the area of BSM, especially as more and more companies start looking at the utility or Software as a Service (SaaS) model. No one at the executive level of the company cares about the bandwidth or errors running through a router; all they want to know is that the widgets are rolling of the assembly line.
Another area I’d love to explore is the idea of runbook automation. One company that is doing a lot in this area but you rarely hear of is IPSoft out of New York. They claim that they can resolve 56% of problems automatically. The idea of capturing and automating the knowledge of experienced network and system admins is exciting to me, and seems to play into the main ideas of BSM.
But for now, as we enter into what may be a difficult time for all businesses, we will focus on remaining profitable and our mission to “help customers, have fun, and make money”. It appears to be working, as we reached a nice milestone last week. Our first customer, who joined us in December of 2001, renewed their support for the seventh time. The fact that someone who saw value in our product and our services so long ago still does means more to me than any magazine or trade award could.