Last week, IBM GA’ed a new SaaS IT Management offering from Tivoli and their GTS group, Tivoli Live. The offering takes a handful of Tivoli’s on-premise IT management offerings (in monitoring) and offers them as a service from the (gulp) cloud. It’s IT Management as a SaaS.
There isn’t a big bang announcement (yet?), but the Tivoli for Midmarket folks have a blog post up and there’s a PDF data-sheet.
The angle here for Tivoli is going after the smallish and mid-market, an area where, they said during an analyst call on the topic, they haven’t done as well as they could have so far with their Tivoli Express offerings. Other than competing with SaaS offerings,
From that self-categorization, the Tivoli Live service will support monitoring 25 to 500 nodes (or “services” as they call them), with monthly pricing. That range is clearly fixed up for SMB offerings. They’ve essentially taken their existing Tivoli Monitoring offerings and fixed them up for SaaS delivery in two different options, plus a reporting add-on:
- A “touchless” (agentless) offering that will monitor AIX, Solaris, HPUX, Windows, Linux, HTTP/URLs, “Script (Ping),” and SNMP. This runs $44/month/service.
- An agent version that will monitor AIX, Solaris, HPUX, Windows, Linux, VMWare, Citrix, DB/2, Oracle DB, Sybase, Lotus Domino, “Web Resources,” SAP, Windows Cluster Support, Windows Hyper-V Windows SQL Server, Windows Exchange Server, Windows Active Directory, Windows IIS, Windows .NET, Windows Sharepoint Server, and Windows Biztalk Server. This runs $58/month/service.
- Performance and Capacity reporting for historical charts/reports and doing predictive capacity reporting. This runs $14/month/service.
Both monitoring agent-modes have event notification and the UI to go along with them. Also, there’s a one-time $6,500 setup fee per customer.
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How it works
For those not familiar with SaaS monitoring, you download a piece of software to run behind-the-firewall which does the monitoring and then sends that data up to “the cloud” where the UI is typically run. In the case above, the “touchless” offering is just one piece of software running on your network, where-as the agent versions run on the target box (or virtual guest).
Other than a lower price-point, the goal of Tivoli Live was also to get users up and running fast: installs should be “available for use in less than 7 days,” Roger Woods of IBM GTS said during the analyst call.
Others like ManageEngine and AccelOps (and something new from Gomez) offer monitoring as a service, and still more like Service-now.com and traditional folks like BMC and Microsoft have other parts of IT Management as a service (or will).
Having worked on a SaaS monitoring offering at BMC (PATROL Express) I always have a soft-spot for SaaS offerings. The other good thing here is that IBM is being up-front with its pricing, which is rare from a large company.
The challenge for Tivoli (and IBM in general) is always moving down-market and understanding how to get their fingers deep enough in that pie. Part of that is getting the technology to fit – namely in not being difficult to manage itself, but also in pricing and marketing of the offering. It’d be interesting, for example, to see if they could figure out a way to use the S(M)B channel Spiceworks has built up to sell “deeper monitoring” with Tivoli Live or even do some sort of Spiceworks plugin. (Spiceworks, in general, has an interesting, hybrid mix of on-premise and SaaSness to their offering.) John and I discuss the challenges IBM has had in this space in today’s podcast as well.
More long-term, along with Lotus Live, Tivoli Live is another foray into SaaS for IBM which (hopefully) they’re keeping track of as a learning exercise in addition to it being a straight up product. ISVs are right at the beginning of facing the challenged of converting to SaaS, and all this cloud hoopla is just the beginning of it. Younger vendors that could start with a clean-slate have an easier time than elder companies who’ve glommed together a bunch of different offerings. The thing with SaaS is that, in theory, the delivery mechanism should make keeping up with a bunch of different technologies easier since you’re just maintaining once version of the software (hopefully) with the experts (the people who wrote it, or are in charge of it at least) maintaining and running it.
Thus, the consequences of failure are even worse when it comes to SaaS offerings like this for companies: first, there’s the risk of customers just not showing up, second, the more strategic risk is taking the attitude that “SaaS doesn’t work, we tried it,” and missing the boat on figuring out how to deliver software in SaaS form, favoring on-premise. It’s all well worth the risk: when it comes to monitoring Big 4 vendors are competing against free, super-cheap, or, increasingly, SaaS. They’ve got to start doing something.
Disclosure: IBM is a client, as are AccelOps, Microsoft, and Spiceworks. See the RedMonk client list for others.