Top 10 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Software – Q1 2017

IT Central Station’s crowdsourced user review platform helps technology decision makers around the world to better connect with peers and other independent experts who provide advice without vendor bias.

Our users have ranked their solutions according to their valuable features, and have also discussed where they see room for improvement. You can read user reviews for the top 10 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Tools here, to help you decide which solution is best for you.

Users compare and give feedback on the IT Infrastructure Monitoring solutions that they’ve used — based on product reviews, ratings, and comparisons.

it infrastructure monitoring reviews

#1 Nagios XI

Nagios XI is ranked by our users as the number one solution of Q1 2017, but what do users really think of the solution?

Paolo Daniele writes “I think that the most important feature of Nagios is that you can write your own plugin, so you are able to create your monitoring system based on what you need.

For example, I’m using a backup system that writes in a file when it’s done. If this file is empty it means that the backup fails: well I’ve written a Nagios plugin to check this so that I can be sure if a backup is ok or not.”

Brendan O’Farrell adds that “While the UI is functional, I have always thought there was room for improvement here. It is at times assumptive for the not so technical, rather than informative.”

#2 CA Unified Infrastructure Management

CA Unified Infrastructure Management is ranked by our users as the number two solution of Q1 2017.

As said in the video review above, Zafir Yousaf shares that “the most valuable features for us are the way it brings silo products together that we’ve invested in over the years, and it allows us to consolidate our views for our customers.”

Reba Gaines writes that she “would like to see enhancements to core probes for bulk uploads. Some probes have the capability to monitor multiple targets. You either must enter them one by one or use scripting to bulk load the targets. I would like to see that functionality built into the probes.”

#3 SevOne

IT Central Station users rank SevOne as the number three IT Infrastructure Monitoring solution of Q1 2017.

This Tools and Automation Manager writes that “The most valuable feature for us is its flexibility to handle different systems and different functions. We use it for networking, service systems, PDU’s, and anything that’s available for SO&P.”

Eric Sharpsten suggests that “the downstream suppression could be improved. Suppression must all be done manually, but this improvement is on SevOne’s roadmap, I believe.”

#4 SolarWinds NPM

SolarWinds NPM is ranked by our users as the number four solution of Q1 2017.

Christopher Good writes “I love the GUI. Almost everything is accessible through the web interface.  It is very user-friendly.  

It is easy to drag and drop resources wherever you want them. NPM also includes additional features that come in handy, such as a web SSH console, SYSLOG and trap collectors, and Wireless Heat Maps.”

Craig Norborg then suggests improvements such as “More granular permissions! I’d like to see a role-based system where you can granularly apply permissions for administrative tasks and be able to assign these roles to people. Just because you need to edit a node doesn’t mean you should have full admin permissions!”

#5 CA Spectrum

IT Central Station users rank CA Spectrum as the number five IT Infrastructure Monitoring solution of Q1 2017.

Frank Tonjes discusses the REST API as a valuable feature, describing how “The REST API allowed us to automate a lot of the manual work required to add devices into Spectrum.

This included installing the product via ‘silent installer’ based on one config file (installer would look at hostname and find out what role the server was and installed only those components.”

Saad Syed shares that “There are certain attributes that we would like to be able to send northbound to different applications or different API calls that we can use. That is one area for improvement.”

#6 Opsview Enterprise

Opsview Enterprise is ranked by our users as the number six solution of Q1 2017.

Stephen Lam shares that “the most valuable feature we’ve found is really just how easy it is to add servers and devices to the monitor.

We also like the UI and applications. What we’ve also found that we like the iOS app which lets us acknowledge issues or see warnings from our mobile phones away from the office.”

Valentin Hobel has found that “the API provided by Opsview is, compared to other monitoring solutions, not state of the art. It would be great to see that more efforts would be put into this part of the product.

Furthermore, I would love to see support for more database systems which are needed for storing configuration stuff and data.”

#7 Spiceworks

IT Central Station users rank Spiceworks as the number seven IT Infrastructure Monitoring solution of Q1 2017.

Aimee White describes Spiceworks as “a system monitoring tool that has a wealth of community created add-ons that can especially help organizations with limited funds to ensure their mission critical systems are running well.”

Aaron Krytus argues that “Reporting for any application is a must.  Where the reporting is very useful in SpiceWorks, I would like a more powerful reporting tool to better filter what I want and do not want.

There are some built-in filters, but a simple if-then ability would be incredibly helpful to narrow down my reports. “

#8 ITRS Geneos

ITRS Geneos is ranked by our users as the number eight solution of Q1 2017.

Thomas DM Thomas explains that ITRS Geneos “has powerful visualization features to develop dashboards to display in big screens and share it via Webslinger (a web server that allows dashboards to be accessed via web browsers).

It can log metrics (values) into a reporting database and generate historical charts for trend analysis. The Toolkit plugin can run scripts for custom monitoring requirements that cannot be implemented using standard plugins.”

This Project Manager suggests that “The main feature that needs work is the Dashboard designer. Although it has lots of features included we would like these visualization capabilities to be improved. Currently, we have to export metrics data in real-time into some other visualization tools in order to get a better picture and have a bit more functional dashboard.”

#9 ScienceLogic

IT Central Station users rank ScienceLogic as the number nine IT Infrastructure Monitoring solution of Q1 2017.

Jason Backley shares that “the Power Packs that are available are amazing. It took me ~10 minutes to fully configure multiple Pure disk arrays.

The Cisco UCS power pack was even faster. Literally pointed it at the IP of the UCS and it did all the work.”

Kalani Silva finds that “Reporting is still a gigantic pain point, we invest a lot of cycles in manufacturing reports off-board – #notfun.

While EM7 covers a lot of ground quickly and is capable of consuming enormous amounts of event and performance data, EM7 ironically has a hard time reporting on it – basic reporting is there, but if you let’s say want to run a report for the last 90 days how many Cisco 2900 routers had a critical power supply incident that for one isn’t easy and two needs a developer to write a custom report.”

#10 BMC TrueSight Operations Management

BMC TrueSight Operations Management is ranked by our users as the number 10 solution of Q1 2017.

Stefan Timmermann describes that “The Event Management is outstanding; still is the most interesting part of the product.”

At the same time, writes Timmermann, “The sizing (which is difficult), the maintenance of it and the upgrade paths. This is a difficult area which is not easy to cover, as every client has a different approach of implementing the product.”

Read more IT Infrastructure Monitoring Software reviews at IT Central Station.

Top 10 APM Solutions – Q1 2017

IT Central Station’s crowdsourced user review platform helps technology decision makers around the world to better connect with peers and other independent experts who provide advice without vendor bias.

Our users have ranked their solutions according to their valuable features, and have also discussed where they see room for improvement. You can read user reviews for the top 10 Application Performance Management solutions here, to help you decide which solution is best for you.

Users compare and give feedback on the APM solutions that they’ve used — based on product reviews, ratings, and comparisons.

APM reviews

#1 AppDynamics APM

AppDynamics APM is ranked by our users as the number one solution of Q1 2017, but what do users really think of the solution?

For David A. Wheeler, “the modules that we are finding most valuable are as follows:

  • Applications: This provides us insight into how our applications are performing within our environments and affords us the ability to identify opportunities and make changes to code/environment to effect positive performance lift.
  • Databases: This module is amazing; allows our developers the ability to view into the SQL nodes themselves to quickly rule in/out any hardware issues. It also provides them with access to download execution plans directly via AppDynamics, which in turn helps improve turnaround time for fixes and such.
  • End User Monitoring: Whereas the Application module gives us insight as to how our applications are performing within our environments, End User Monitoring provides us similar data from a browser perspective. In other words, it provides us the complete experience from the clients’ perspective; tremendously valuable indeed.

Gustin Eaton writes that “I think I would like to see a better way to deploy and upgrade the machine agents that we use. Currently, we have to use SCCM, and that might just be our environment with the customer. Personally, I am not the best with Linux commands; I’m learning. I’m a GUI person. Give me a button to click on with a mouse pointer, and that’s just me.

I personally don’t have anything I think they need to add. They’re the great minds. They’re the leaders of technology, so they’ll think of what I need before I do.”


IT Central Station users rank CA APM as the number two solution of the end of Q1 2017.

As said in his video review above, Mike Miller writes that “The most valuable features I believe would actually be two things I would go into: The insight it gives into the applications that it’s actually applied to, and the flexibility to do many things with those metrics, and also feed your own metrics from external sources.”

Felipe Silva Castro writes that the CA APM workstation (console) connection is too slow with some metrics.

The integration with CA Spectrum is quite difficult to create, and it is also only one way, only being used to view alarms coming from CA APM. It would be interesting to visualize APM metrics in CA Spectrum OneClick. I see a need to improve this integration.”

#3 New Relic APM

New Relic APM is ranked by our users as the number three solution of the end of Q1 2017, but what do users really think about the solution?

One DevOps engineer shares that “APM products are something that needs to be well-tailored to your specific needs and environment. for the project I’m currently working on, we chose new relic after a bake-off with another vendor. both products were great, but new relic came up on top and we’ve been very happy with the insights it provides.”

Ken Maier adds that “We really love the INSIGHTS query and dashboarding capabilities.  It would be great to see this expand even further with more options for querying.”

#4 HPE AppPulse Suite

IT Central Station users rank HPE AppPulse Suite as the number four solution of the end of Q1 2017, but what do users really think of HPE AppPulse Suite?

Joe Rolfe shares that “AppPulse Active allows us to very quickly produce synthetic monitoring for our applications, for some applications we’ve never been able to monitor before, some older Legacy applications.

It gave us a set of tools that we could use to create the transactions and to play them back flawlessly on applications that we previous hadn’t been able to. It was very quick.”

Jose Carlos Granados Chillon adds that “I think they can improve the feature that identifies the operating systems, the brand of the devices, the response time, geolocalization. Security is also important because we also use HPE Fortify on Demand, another HPE tool, to identify whether there is any security breach.”

#5 Dynatrace

Dynatrace is ranked by our users as the number five solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Arda Haliloglu writes that “The most valuable feature is that we can see every database call executed from Java applications. Since most of the workload of applications are database-based, it is important to see and analyze SQL statements.

Dynatrace provides the ability to drill down to different dashlets and see what is going clearly, which is extremely useful.”

This SysAdmin suggests the following points for room for improvement:

  • Either use fewer system resources and be faster or use more resources to pre-compute the PurePath on recent X minutes of data
  • More flexibility with refresh times
  • More UI options
#6 ITRS Geneos

IT Central Station users rank ITRS Geneos as the number six solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Ken Ramsay writes that “The ability to logically normalize data gathered from multiple types of sources via pre-built plugins is extremely powerful. This functionality, coupled with the ability to import custom data via the Toolkit plugin allows ITRS Geneos to be leveraged to monitor every system in the enterprise.”

Louis Louca explains that he “would like better access to the data that is being collected.

ITRS are addressing this by using a KAFKA API interface to the gateway. Access to the data provides the ability to summarize, aggregate and correlate events and in many cases predict outages.”

#7 Avada Software Infrared360

Avada Software Infrared360 is ranked by our users as the number seven solution of the end of Q1 2017.

For Infrared360’s valuable features, David Corbett lists:

  • Monitoring that ties into our incident management system
  • Visibility of the MQ environment to non-MQ personnel

Brad Rodgers suggests improvements that would allow “The interface just needs to keep improving to where it looks more and more like other applications.

Then, when new users come in, it’s not as hard for them to learn and navigate around the environment. It’s easy to navigate once you understand how they set their GUI up. It would be something similar to how Windows or Excel follow a certain platform design and you know exactly how they work.”

#8 BMC TrueSight Operations Management

IT Central Station users rank BMC TrueSight Operations Management as the number eight solution of the end of Q1 2017.

“The Event Management is outstanding; still is the most interesting part of the product”, writes Stefan Timmermann.

Timmermann then continues to identify areas which could use improvement, such as “The sizing (which is difficult), the maintenance of it and the upgrade paths. This is a difficult area which is not easy to cover, as every client has a different approach towards implementing the product.”

#9 Riverbed SteelCentral AppResponse

Riverbed SteelCentral AppResponse is ranked by our users as the number nine solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Bill Burke lists valuable features such as “Ability to see end to end user, application, server, and network response time and throughput data. Good reporting and alerting mechanism.

Easy interfacing with Wireshark or Riverbed Transaction Analyzer to view detailed packet data. Easy to organize web page families, network device interface, and server response time and throughout into real-time or historical views.”

Burke then adds that regarding improvement, he finds a “Need to bring back the NetFlow module for AppResponse.”

#10 Quest Foglight

IT Central Station users rank Quest Foglight as the number 10 solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Robert Singleton shares that “having standard monitoring features and a central repository saves us a lot of time and reduces the risk of incidents. It replaces a lot of manual tasks and makes it easier for us to be more pro-active and to prioritize issues across multiple systems.”

One Systems Engineer writes that “My only complaint from Foglight for monitoring is that you only get a plot for five minute average for metrics like CPU and Memory, on the application side I can see metrics more quickly at 15 seconds for metrics like active sessions, heap. I would like to see the same for CPU and memory.”

Read more user reviews for the Top APM of 2017 here.


Popular APM Comparisons made by IT Central Station users:

CA APM vs AppDynamics APM

AppDynamics APM vs HPE AppPulse Suite

CA APM vs HPE AppPulse Suite

Top 8 Firewalls Reviewed by Users – Q1 2017

IT Central Station’s crowdsourced user review platform helps technology decision makers around the world to better connect with peers and other independent experts who provide advice without vendor bias.

Our users have ranked their solutions according to their valuable features, and have also discussed where they see room for improvement. You can read user reviews for the top 8 firewalls here, to help you decide which solution is best for you.

Users compare and give feedback on the firewalls that they’ve used — based on product reviews, ratings, and comparisons.

firewall reviews

#1 Fortinet FortiGate

Fortinet FortiGate is ranked by our users as the number one solution of the end of Q1 2017, but what do users really think of the solution?

Simon Chaba writes that, “You can create multiple virtual domains (VDOMs) which are treated as separate firewall instances. The reporting you get out of this appliance is excellent and you don’t need an external management system.”

Fabrizio Volpe shares that “the main complaint I have heard is about the technical support. My personal experience is the same of many people that are not happy with this aspect of the service offered by Fortinet.

Often, your problem is diverted to local partners and I have to say that I had mixed results with them. While some partners are professional, many are not skilled enough and have costs that are not equivalent to their quality.”

#2 Cisco ASA

IT Central Station users rank Cisco ASA as the number two solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Eric Garcia describes that he “especially values Change Management and Compliance. They are most valuable because we are required to comply with regulations regarding credit card processing (PCI) and protecting patient data (HIPAA).”

Alberto E. Luna Rodriguez explains that the “Only problem, in my opinion, is ease of use. You really need to know your way around the CLI and complex feature set to get things working. The ASDM GUI is good for some things but for the most part, you’ll need to stick to the CLI which is a bit difficult especially if you don’t have a lot of experience around Cisco equipment.”

#3 pfSense

pfSense is ranked by our users as the number three solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Dania Seun lists several valuable features:

  • Fail-over of between multiple ISPs
  • Firewall
  • Graphs
  • Real-time interface monitoring
  • The web UI gives you an overview of everything you want to see
  • For an open-source solution, it has performed fantastically
  • OSPF
  • It contains loads of optional packages e.g Snort (IDS), asterix (PBX), network monitors etc.

Seun also writes that “The load balancing can be improved as it uses tier levels to balance. For it to function most effectively, you often need to have the same bandwidth on the ISPs.”

#4 Sophos UTM

IT Central Station users rank Sophos UTM as the number four solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Juan C. Sanchez Pignalosa explains that “the web filter and the ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) are great and easy to manage, and the integrated WAF (Web Application Firewall) allows the administrator to seamlessly protect HTTP/S services without having to pay thousands of dollars. The just introduced Sandstorm system for protection, which is awesome as well.”

Pignalosa adds that “Sophos UTM has many improvements that I would suggest, but the main one is for the Application Control to be managed with users as well, and with timeframes (schedules) for the administrator to allow certain apps outside a specific timeframe, or vice versa.”

#5 Palo Alto Networks Wildfire

Palo Alto Networks Wildfire is ranked by our users as the number five solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Jesus Guadalupe Torres Araujo describes that “It has one of the best WebUIs that I have used, because at a glance looks simple, but offers us a lot of options to secure all the traffic that is passing through the device (or all traffic that the user decides to pass through).”

At the same time, he’d “like to see a wizard to create IPSec VPNs. They need to  improve the graphics to show the network behavior.”

#6 Sophos Cyberoam UTM

IT Central Station users rank Sophos Cyberoam UTM as the number six solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Anthony Fernandes writes that the “Most valuable feature I am using I would say is the bandwidth management for users. I have users who misuse the net and I have given them caps so it is properly utilized.

Another feature I use is the VPN. I have an entity that requires 24x7x365 connectivity and the Cyberoam is very simple when it comes to monitoring that or refreshing that connection.”

Fernandes then shares that “Not many things would need to be added but I strongly feel it could be made more robust. For example, the cooling system in the device could do with a good revamp. There are times when the device gets too hot and begins to misbehave.”

#7 WatchGuard XTM

WatchGuard XTM is ranked by our users as the number seven solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Somono Chek finds that “The proxy-based policy in Policy Manager is the best feature.

It helps me:

  • Create many different firewall policies for different networks and services
  • In tracking problems in the policy rule in the traffic monitor of Firebox System Manager.”

For areas that need improvement, Chek writes:

  • It is difficult to configure WatchGuard with your internet settings.
  • I would like to see more granularity on each IP bandwidth that is used
  • It cannot block Internet Download Manager nor the Torrent application “BitComet”.
#8 Dell SonicWALL TZ

IT Central Station users rank Dell SonicWALL TZ as the number eight solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Aaron Krytus lists several valuable features:

  • Easy to use GUI
  • VPN (Site-to-Site and Client-to-Site)
  • Gateway Security
  • Built in A/V options
  • Content Filtering

Krytus then adds that he “would love to see more detailed logs and filtering. Wireless versions have weak signal strength in comparison to other wireless routers.”

Read more firewall reviews by real users at IT Central Station.

Top 10 Business Intelligence Solutions – Q1 2017

IT Central Station’s crowdsourced user review platform helps technology decision makers around the world to better connect with peers and other independent experts who provide advice without vendor bias.

Our users have ranked their solutions according to their valuable features, and have also discussed where they see room for improvement. You can read user reviews for the top 10 business intelligence solutions here, to help you decide which solution is best for you.

BI Reviews

#1 Tableau

Tableau is ranked by our users as the number one solution of the end of Q1 2017, but what do users really think of the solution?

This Finance Operations Manager at a tech company writes, “The best feature of Tableau is the usability. It allows a business user to prototype something without going through IT and spending a lot of time and money trying to translate requirements. Going back and forth, it allows you to rapidly develop things that you need to analyze the data.”

He also notes, “The thing I don’t like is the refresh feature. The users can have the web page open and there’s a browser refresh every 10 minutes, or every 30 minutes, whatever IT sets as the refresh rate. You lose everything when you have to refresh the page and it may take 30 seconds. So, that’s a bit frustrating too. You expect that when you leave a browser page open, you want it to keep that view there.”

#2 QlikView

IT Central Station users rank QlikView as the number two solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Shabaz Sheikh explains that “Extraction from almost all data sources provides a lot of value to me. Ease of operation, data modeling and creating dashboards with simple objects and the abundance of visualizations are also valuable.”

Roy Yung finds that “By comparing with the latest data discovery tools like Tableau, Qlik Sense, and Sisense, the layout and colors are not eye catching enough. It looks like a very powerful excel with a lot of powerful features for analysis. But it may not be good for presentation.”

#3 Oracle OBIEE

Oracle OBIEE is ranked by our users as the number three solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Peter Cseh writes how “With the three-layer repository, the development and interpretation are very simple. The three layers are divided from each other well both in logical and physical meaning. The physical layer is used for importing data, creating aliases, building physical joins, setting up connection pools, managing cache and hints for tables. 

The business model and mapping layer is used for creating logical columns, fact and dimension tables, hierarchies, measures, using fragmentations and filters, applying business logic.

The presentation layer is used to prepare, group and organize the data for users to view.”

Ramesh Nalem, however, points out that “Some of the additional features required are that it should be more user-friendly.

Sometimes, when we use the drag-and-drop feature it does not drag the object and needs to be user-friendly. It’s not available today. If it would be more flexible, that would be helpful.”

#4 Microsoft BI

IT Central Station users rank Microsoft BI as the number four solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Rafael Martins Cardoso writes that “Since its integration into SQL Server 2005, Microsoft has made a number of improvements and added many new features. It had a big overhaul in 2008 and acquired a bunch of new features with 2008 R2: KPIs, maps, sparklines, new functions, published Report Parts, and more.”

Cardoso would also like to see improvements made to the “Antiquated IDE for code developers extending it. I really wish that the custom code windows provided richer programming assistance (like autocomplete, object-oriented constructs, Intellisense…) and support for other programming languages.”

#5 IBM Cognos

IBM Cognos is ranked by our users as the number five solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Mike Bernaiche shares that “IBM Cognos Analytics is a data discovery and reporting platform for your department or your entire enterprise. But it’s much more than just managed reporting: It provides departmental users with the self-sufficiency they need to bring in their own external data, explore it, and even merge it with corporately governed data, all without needing to go to IT. With that ability, they can get fresh perspectives that are simply not available in their existing reporting environment.”

Bernaiche then adds that “IBM Cognos Analytics continues to improve with every release. On the horizon are some major enhancements that include:

  • World-class mapping capabilities (This is now available with release 5. IBM partnered with Mapbox and now offer beautiful geospatial mapping capabilities.)
  • Connections to more data sources (with release this is greatly improved.)
  • Storytelling features like Watson Analytics (available with release 4.)
  • Connections to Frame Work Manager packages for dashboards (available with release 5.)”
#6 MicroStrategy

IT Central Station users rank MicroStrategy as the number six solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Gonzalo Segarra finds that “The most valuable thing is not the product. It’s having a product for BI. We first made a lot of dashboards.

They are very useful for management and automatic reports with summarized data.

The dashboards can be exported to MHT. This allows us to send them by email, or publish in our intranet and sync in mobile devices so they can use it offline calculations, and query optimizations.”

Rajavel Selvaraj Ganesan adds that “Some of the basic features such as Axis Label formatting on Graphs, Quick Switch on mobile (iOS), properly updated documentation on their websites, and faster enhancement fixes when needed for customers/businesses that are simple in nature rather than holding it for longer durations to fix.”

#7 SAP Business Objects

SAP Business Objects is ranked by our users as the number seven solution of the end of Q1 2017, but what do users really think about SAP Business Objects?

Shahid Latif writes that “The features that I think are valuable in SAP Business Objects – BOBJ (WEBi, BI Launch Pad, Rich Client) are the drill down capabilities to the nitty gritty lowest level and perform an in-depth analysis from different angles. Other products may also have this, but I believe with BOBJ, it is a lot better.”

A BI Consultant speaks of how he “encountered an issue with security. When I promoted the association between the CMC security profile and the Security Universe profile as I took our application from dev to test to production, I noticed that the associations were lost. This forced me to newly associate all over again.”

#8 Pentaho

IT Central Station users rank Pentaho as the number eight solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Saravanan Ramaraj emphasizes Pentaho’s valuable feature of “Ad-hoc reporting (available only in Enterprise Edition) GEO-referencing using Google Maps ETL (Pentaho Data Integration) Support for both JasperReport, BIRT.”

Federico Blezio adds that he “would like to see self-service analysis and front-end tools.”

#9 SAS Visual Analytics

SAS Visual Analytics is ranked by our users as the number nine solution of the end of Q1 2017.

Thireindar Min shares that thanks to the “Interactive reporting with various statistical graphs. The company was able to see the 360 view of how the customers were consuming their services in terms of membership, events and educational purposes from a central data storage loaded in SAS which was very hard to achieve without the software.”

This engineer describes that he’d “like to see the ability to use Python or other codes within the workflow. The helpdesk was not great. Part of the reason why we went back to open source Python was that their help desk could not solve our problems quickly enough.”

#10 Panorama Necto

IT Central Station users rank Panorama Necto as the number ten solution of the end of Q1 2017, but what do users really think of the solution?

Lucy Sokitch writes that “This solution is very easy to use and offers a huge variety of features. It helps us reach our customers and our vendors, supports different graphics templates and implements interactive analytics tools. Also, it has very effective tools to connect with your colleagues which is one of the best I have ever seen.”

Sokitch also notes that “Panorama doesn’t have big community support and many issues we refer to the technicians. This isn’t great, especially with the lack of time. Also they do not support a Linux version and we have some problems with this.”

Read more user reviews for the Top BI Tools of Q1 2017 here.

More User Feedback on Top BI Tools:

Tableau 10: Best New/Improved Features — January 27, 2017

Business Intelligence Tools — [PDF REPORT] — April 2017

When evaluating Business Intelligence Tools, what aspect so you think is the most important to look for? — March 28, 2017

Server Virtualization Software Reviews: Advice from Real Users

How do vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESXi, and Oracle VM VirtualBox compare in the eyes of real enterprise tech users?

This week’s blog post delves into top server virtualization software reviews and takes an insider’s look at what real users have to say about these five solutions.

VMware vSphere

Question: What are VMware vSphere’s Most Valuable Features?


Provides a Foundation, High Availability, and Flexibility (Brian Gibson)

“The most important feature for us is clearly the foundation it provides. In addition to that, we’ve found the high availability and flexibility to be important as well.”
Simple to Configure and Manage (Matteo Temporini)

“One of the most valuable features of this product is the integration...If you have experience with this product, it is very simple to configure and use. With minimal studying, you can configure and manage it.”

Question: Where do you See Room for Improvement in VMware vSphere?


Graphics Virtualization (Brian Gibson)

Further development of graphics virtualization. They’ve started dabbling in that, it seems, but it definitely needs a lot more. They need to make it a little quicker and better.”

vSAN is not Hypervisor-agnostic (Matteo Temporini)

The only option is to present the storage via NFS (iSCSI will be available with version 6.5). The problem with this configuration is that you lose all the benefits of HCI. Essentially, you transform the vSAN into a network data store.”

Pin to SSD Configuration (Matteo Temporini)

“Also, no PIN to SSD: If you have a hybrid mix of disks, you can’t configure a PIN for a particular VM on a particular SSD.”

Availability of Features (Matteo Temporini)

“Additionally, some features are only available on the all-flash version.
Deduplication and compression are enabled cluster-wide. There is a way to disable these options, but the problem is that you can’t enable this option in any combination you want. Essentially, compression and deduplication are either both on or both off. This is not good if you intend to use it for an application like SQL server and Oracle DB.”

Microsoft Hyper-V

Question: What are Microsoft Hyper-V’s Most Valuable Features?


Hosted Solution Abilities (Brian Ciarcia)

“The most valuable feature of this is the ability to provide a completely redundant hosted solution to our clients, no matter where they are. We have the ability to load balance a cluster of servers so that resources are evenly spread, providing the best experience.”

Machine Migration Abilities (Brian Ciarcia)

“I also like the ability to live-migrate machines if we have any issues with a host. The user experiences no degradation.”

Scalable and Stable (Amir Anwar)

“It’s scalable and stable. Working on Hyper-V is a wonderful experience. It supports our systems in parallel, providing us results that meet our needs.
Moreover, providing more and more new features everyday such as Live Migration, CSV and so on.”

Assigning Physical NICs to Each VM (Amir Anwar)
Also, assigning physical NICs to each VM is wonderful with Hyper-V, as it distributes load and performs well. Otherwise, all VMs bottleneck to a virtual switch which is bound to just one physical NIC.

Question: Where do you See Room for Improvement in Microsoft Hyper-V?


Lack of Offline Solution (Brian Ciarcia)

“One thing I would love to see with this product is the ability to provide an offline solution. It would be great if someone could do work when no network connection is available, then sync up when a connection is available.”

Better Media Performance (Brian Ciarcia)

“I would also like to see better performance with media. Right now, streaming any media within Hyper-V is just not feasible.”

Less Complex Networking Component (Amir Anwar)

“The networking component of the setup needs to be less complex. I have one physical server with four built-in LAN ports (NIC1, NIC2, NIC3 & NIC4) and I want three more VMs on it.
In order to distribute the traffic load, I want to assign one NIC to each VM with one for the physical server. This means whenever L needs remote access for management purpose it will utilize NIC4, but this needs to be simpler to set up.”

Oracle VM VirtualBox

Question: What are Oracle VM VirtualBox’s Most Valuable Features?


Quick Deployment of New Virtual Machines (ProjectMgr674)

From our use of it, the most valuable feature we’ve found is that it can quickly deploy new virtual machines.

VM Capabilities (SnrAppSpec346)

It allows me to run VMs on my laptop. I am able to develop and test my infrastructure automation scripts locally before running in production. Also, I do Java programming, so I can set up VM for my projects and scrap it once projects are finished — with backup, of course.

Question: Where do you See Room for Improvement in Oracle VM VirtualBox?

Virtualization Features (ProjectMgr674)

“If the system that you want to use for virtualization has no 64-bit support, you need to give it instructions on how to enable it through the Intel virtualization technology in BIOS.”

Networking Options (SnrAppSpec346)

Networking options need improvement. Once I had an idea to move my development work into Ubuntu, however, it is not possible to run VM within VM.

The solution is to play around with the networking so that all VMs run within the same network and use one of them as a master node. But sometimes I need to test the scripts to run in a different network. I couldn’t find an easy solution for that situation.”

VMware ESXi

Question: What are VMware ESXi’s Most Valuable Features?


Pros of VMware ESXI (kapilmalik1983)
1. VMWare ESXi is a virtualization product that allows us to partition a single physical server into multiple virtual machines.

2. VMWare ESXi hosts can be with Windows, Solaris, Linux and Netware, any or all of which can be used concurrently on the same hardware.

3. VMWare ESXi has been proved as leader in cloud enterprise class solutions.

4. VMWare ESXi takes virtualization higher and deeper with rich storage automation and more advanced virtual networking tools.

5. VMWare ESXi allows dynamically to modify CPU, memory, disk and network configurations.

6. VMWare ESXi hosts can be accessed using vSphere client as well as in browser.

7. VMWare ESXi is good for production applications as well as for testing environment.

8. 24*7 support is available from VMWare for all kinds of support issues.

9. VMWare ESXi supports advanced features like state capture, live migration, high availability, dynamic resources etc.

Compatibility Features (Rana Hamza Liaqat)

“Its compatibility with LUNs and its vMotion, HA, FT and VDS. It works very smooth with LUNs.
When we talk about its Cluster feature, then the HA, FT, and DRS features are just great in how they support large-scale servers and VMs without any trouble in the production environment.

VDS Switches (Rana Hamza Liaqat)

VMware offers VDS switches which are very efficient and useful regarding network configuration in your virtual environment. The configuration should be the same on your cluster-joined ESXis to improve performance and when running a production environment or VMs on any ESXi.”

Question: Where do you See Room for Improvement in VMware ESXi?

Cons of VMware ESXI (kapilmalik1983)

1. License cost is a little expensive.

2. Free version allows server memory up to 32GB.
“Vendor Alternatives:

Oracle VM, Microsoft Hyper-V, AWS

Read more server virtualization software reviews on IT Central Station.

What Do Users Look for in Disaster Recovery Software in 2017?

In their Disaster Recovery Software reviews, what do users share about solutions they’ve been using in 2017?

In the reviews below, users discuss the pain points they address with Disaster Recovery Software and how their experiences have been in doing so.

Continue reading for expert feedback from real users at IT Central Station.

Protection for Both Physical and Virtual Environments: Veeam Backup

“In the end, if you have enough budget you need a solution that can protect both the physical and virtual environment”, writes SrTechnicalOfficer56. He then adds that “If a product can be successfully tested to be able to recover some complicated servers in a timely and simple manner then that is the one to use.”

Chris D. Martin writes that “By far it (Veeam Backup) is the best virtualization protection product, but lacking in the physical protection space. It does physical backups, but it feels like an afterthought.”

Reviewer221094 shares that “I have used all the main virtualization-aware backup products and I can’t say enough good things about Veeam. It is astounding for VM backups, file level restores and now backups physical systems to the same environment…We started using the Universal Object restore to restore Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL. It handles log truncation just fine and now handles Oracle DB.”

Backup Capabilities for Exchange Servers: Altaro VM

Chaim Y. Kopciel discusses his need for Altaro VM to allow “continuous Exchange backup, as this product (Altaro VM) allows you to revert the Exchange data to almost any custom point in time as it backs up exchange servers as soon as the transactional logs are closed. However, I just add hourly backup to Altaro for Exchange servers.

Replication Functionalities: Zerto Virtual Replication

Rodney Barnhardt shares that “the fact that you cannot only replicate virtual machines to another location, but the fact that you can group and configure various boot orders, with time delays is a valuable feature.”

Restore Functionalities: HPE Data Protector

“The granularity of brick-level restore functionality is very valuable”, writes Darren Oneill. “We receive approximately 10 restore requests on a daily basis for your typical file/folder restore, with the odd Exchange mailbox restore request thrown in, just to keep me on my toes.”

Restore Functionalities: Altaro VM

“I need to be able to restore emails to Exchange Live not just to a PST“, writes Chaim Y. Kopciel. He explains that “This is a major drawback as I want to be able to restore individual items or mailboxes directly into my live Exchange databases so the user can see the email right away.”

Lab Functionalities: Veeam Backup

Reviewer221094 also adds that “I’ve used Veeam Backup’s lab functionality where you can stand up an environment based on backups. It also does compression on the fly as well as encryption and deduplication.”

Backup Capabilities: HPE Data Protector

“Normally, the backup routines are run, and that’s what we use Data Protector for”, explains Ian Cannonier. We just dive into that, pull it back, and say, there are half a dozen backups, and ask which one ‘he’ wants. He says, “I want the one before I made the changes.” We can’t just apply a mindset here, or read ‘his’ mind. They can drill it down to specifics. We can then drill the tool down to specifics. It does that process, and it does it well.”

Storage Space: Veeam Backup

“I think the resource request (storage space) for the whole suite (usually on a complex environment) is slightly high, especially the WAN accelerators”, writes Alberto Zampieri. “In any case, it is pretty scalable.”

Zampieri also shares that he “would like to have a kind of storage space calculator that gives me an estimate for the size of the WAN accelerator server we are creating; give it a list of VMs to be backed up…I am requesting this because the standard rules in the Veeam End User Guide often resulted in us making a wrong calculation, especially for the target WAN acceleration machine. The result was many failed backups due to “no more space” errors! And creating a VM that is “too big” wastes precious space (the opposite of what we want to achieve).”

ITInfraEng36 explains that “With limited storage space available, we have to use reverse incremental backup to keep only one set of full backup on the latest date. This helps us to manage the free space and make sure fast recovery always available.”

Application Data Recovery: Veeam Backup

ITInfraEng36 also writes that “Application data recovery works great in our environment especially restoring MS Exchange mailbox items. There are cases where emails or attachments which can date back to more than 12 months old are needed by users.”

Disaster Recovery: Zerto Virtual Replication

“At this point, we are not fully using the product for disaster recovery due to the fact that we are not 100% virtualized”, explains Rodney Barnhardt.

Barnhardt explains that “The hope is that within the next two years, it will greatly simplify our DR testing since there is a “failover test” option. This allows the systems to be brought up in an isolated bubble for testing. It will also allow all of the restores to be synchronized to the same time.”

Reporting Capabilities: HPE Data Protector

“We rely on generating daily reports on our stocks for auditing purposes” shares Sue Robinson. “Those reports are useful; so I would say they are the most valuable feature.

It is also very good that you can use it either from the command line or from a GUI. It depends on who is using it, what they want to do with it, and on their preferences.”

The reporting capabilities of HPE Data Protector are very limited and is the main area I feel that HPE Data Protector needs to improve on. The standard report options available with the product are adequate for generic reporting” writes Darren Oneill.

Oneill then adds that “However, if you’re like me and want to get customized reporting, you then have a problem and you will need to purchase another licensed product: HPE Data Protector Reporter.”

Read what else users say about Disaster Recovery Software on IT Central Station.

New ALM Reviews for 2017: JIRA vs HPE ALM vs CA Agile Central

What are enterprise tech professionals discussing in their ALM reviews this year?

This week’s review roundup looks at JIRA, HPE ALM, and CA Agile Central — seeing what users have been saying in 2017.

As they discuss the solutions’ most valuable features and areas for improvement, real users from IT Central Station share their insight and expertise on top Application Lifecycle Management solutions.


jira reviews

Valuable Features

Project Management Capabilities

“Perfect for keeping track of large amounts of bugs, tasks, queries and releases for fixes. The SaaS does the job it is supposed to: helps you keep track of your projects. What I like most is the ease of adding users and the obvious nature of what they need to do – drag-and-drop is always a win.

It is cross-methodology so Scrum, Kanban… it doesn’t matter, you can use JIRAI like how it shows the sprints remaining. Being able to instantly see where you are in a project and what is coming up is invaluable. Also, the ability to link a program of projects is very helpful. I can see where all of the teams are with their individual projects but also how they fit into the overarching business plan for the year.”

Also, the ability to link a program of projects is very helpful. I can see where all of the teams are with their individual projects but also how they fit into the overarching business plan for the year.”

— Aimee White

Room for Improvement

“I have no areas of improvement that I would push. JIRA does what I need – it allows me to assign tasks and to update my project. Any problems that I have found have been more to do with people entering with a lack of details – rubbish in = rubbish out. But that is the same with all apps.”

— Aimee White

hpe alm reviews

Valuable Features

Eases Functional Testing

ALM makes functional testing much easier for our customers. We tell them that if they use ALM, they will have a productivity gain of at least 40% compared to using traditional spreadsheets, Word documents, and so on. They also need it because their departments are getting larger and larger. They’re not sitting in the same place, so they need a tool to combine their teams’ efforts. This is difficult if you are using Excel spreadsheets because you need to send them by email and make sure they have the latest version.”

— Ole Kramer

Organized System

“Most valuable to us is the ability to have the system organized into distinct roles and sections. That way, we can grant different users access to the specific section they need to access. We have business users that only need to run tests, so they only need that small section of the application. We have the BA’s, product trainers, who only care about the requirements.”

— Derek Wallis

Room for Improvement

New Development Methodologies

New development methodologies, such as continuous integration and kanban boards, are being implemented by Microsoft and others to try to get their tools into the testing profession.

ALM’s got to push back and think more about the overall end-to-end development process. It’s very much still a testing tool. We have a few awkward links rather than being a full solution. HPE ALM lacks a few of these features, but for a testing focus tool, helping to ensure quality, I think it’s really good. It’s good at its core necessities.

— Derek Wallis

ca agile reviews
CA Agile Central

Most Valuable Features


“There are a couple of things that our company found really good. One is that it’s scalable, and a lot of the other products on the market for us don’t scale. We have close to 20,000 people using Agile Central. So that was one of the keys. Within the company developers, they all have their preferences. So some like JIRA, while some like Agile Central. But from a backend environment standpoint, Agile Central can actually scale for the whole business.”

— Krisztian Gaspar

Planning Without Much Overhead

“I think what’s great is the ability for teams to really plan at the team level. CA Agile Central does this very well without much overhead. This allows our teams to really focus on the work, as opposed to the administration of the tool. I think at the team level, that’s the most valuable.”

End-to-End Planning

“At the portfolio level, what’s most valuable is being able to manage the visions, the features, and the releases; it’s very easy, simple, and straightforward to do. I think there’s good value, as well, by bringing together the business vision statements and what IT is thinking in terms of delivery, and what’s possible in terms of capacity. The objects within the system are integrated well enough to allow for really smooth end-to-end planning.”

— Nikhil Alkari

Room for Improvement

Easier Movement Between Workspaces

“Within Agile Central, each workspace is very independent and one workspace can’t talk to another workspace.

We have multiple workspaces set up and when a team wants to move from one to the other it’s very difficult to do. For instance, with a big organization, you’re always going to have organizational changes. So you may have set the things up perfectly when you first set it up, but things change. Now when they go and change, since we can’t move workspaces easily, the new teams that are together can’t collaborate because they’re in different workspaces. There’s no easy, functional way of doing it.”

More Developer Friendly

“…Also, it’s not the most developer-friendly tool. So while management tends to like it, I don’t know if developers are huge fans of it, at least in my business, from what I’ve seen.”

— Krisztian Gaspar

Improvements to Reporting Interface

“We base a lot of decisions on real data. So if we’re not able to get that real data in a very simple way and be able to slice and dice it, then we aren’t as effective as we could be at making those decisions quickly. I’d like to see a reporting interface that is easy to use, based on report templates that we can take advantage of.

Lastly, the Insights module within the tool was great when it came out, yet very few people harness it’s power today. I think it could be more integrated into their reporting interface if it’s possible. It would really drive true insight right into the data that we are creating around our work.”

— Nikhil Alkari

Read more ALM user reviews on IT Central Station.

The Top 2400 Baud Dial-Up Modems of 2017 Based on User Reviews From IT Central Station

April 1, 2017 (New York) — IT Central Station, the leading product review site for enterprise technology, announced the top 2400 baud modems for 2017 based on crowdsourced reviews.

Based on the crowdsourced reviews from the IT Central Station community, Commodore VM2400 was found to be the number one ranked 2400 baud modem for 2017. The runner-up top modem was AST Research 2400 from industry powerhouse AST Research, followed by Western Datacom 424, Compaq 2400, and US Robotics Courier.

The rankings are based on a composite factor of average rating, number of reviews, followers, views and comparisons from the community of serious dial-up modem buyers. The full rankings can be found at:

The latest reviews of Commodore, US Robotics, Compaq, and other 2400 baud modems can be found at:

The following are excerpts from some of the most valuable reviews written by IT Central Station members:

Jody R., a System Administrator at a large energy company, writes that her modem “creates quite a noise when it is being connected…the bad thing is that you can’t turn the sound off.” (Full review here.)

Robert G., a CTO at a large manufacturer writes that “once the Internet is connected, there is no sound and it’s a bit of a let down. I miss my modem sounds.” (Full review here.)


Megan P., a Business Analyst at a healthcare company writes that “every time I hear that scratching noise and the beeping signifying the search for parity it is music to my ears.” (Full review here.)

Violet H., an IT Systems Administrator at a health, wellness and fitness company writes “Well, I try to connect, and it’s spinning… then out of nowhere, this ungodly “release the Kracken” monster voice, screeching and hollering.” (Full review here.)

Marshall C., a Computer Systems Manager at a cloud provider writes how “Itѕ арраrеnt incompatibility wіth Windows 10, dеѕріtе US Rоbоtісѕ ѕресіfуіng ѕuсh Wіndоwѕ 10 соmраtіbіlіtу оn its tесhnісаl support раgе for this mоdеl mаdе me mаd whіlе trуіng to gеt thіѕ mоdеm tо work рrореrlу. (Full review here.)

Wondering when these reviews were published? Or why there aren’t any references to more modern technologies, such as IoT connectivity or server virtualization? Check your calendar again — Happy April Fool’s Day!

About IT Central Station |

IT Central Station is revolutionizing the enterprise technology buying process through the power of crowdsourced knowledge, online product reviews and social networking.

The company has been called an “innovative platform at the forefront of the new social buying process” by IDC, and the “Yelp for Enterprise Tech” by the Wall Street Journal. IT Central Station reaches over 22 million tech buyers who access and share unbiased product information and tap into a community of other real users in order to make the best buying decision.

For more information, visit

New Functional Testing Tools Reviews: March 2017

As of March 2017, these are IT Central Station’s most updated functional testing tools reviews, provided by our community of enterprise tech professionals.

Users discuss which features they’ve found most valuable, as well as where they see room for improvement. Continue reading to get their in-depth feedback.


HPE UFT’s most valuable feature ”is the automation of the tests”, writes Manager8fb9. He explains how “That saves us a lot of time, especially during the regression tests…The regression tests run much faster than if you do it manually. It’s assured that the tests are always done the same way. If you run these tests manually, the click behavior might be different or there may be errors during the test. These issues are excluded when you automate it. This tool keeps it consistent.”

When asked how HPE UFT could improve, Manager8fb9 writes that he “would like to see the integration into HPE ALM Octane. I don’t know if this is more on the UFT side or on the Octane side, but as a customer, I don’t really care. I just want it to work in a manner in which we could use Octane for the HA projects in the same way, more or less, that we use ALM so far in the normal, old projects.”

Tricentis Tosca

Vaibhav lists several features that he finds most valuable to Tricentis Tosca:

  • Dynamic test case creation: Tosca lets you create automated test cases in no time. You can also convert your manual test cases into automated in a matter of seconds.
  • Optimize, manage and automate: It lets you jot down your requirements, design test cases, automate and analyse your test results within one GUI.
  • Scriptless automation: Testers can test without worrying about writing code.
  • Supports both GUI as well as non-UI testing.
  • Test case design: Really lets you think about your test approach and strategy, It lets you automatically generate all the possible (and required) permutations and combinations of the functionality to be tested.

When asked to identify where Tricentis has the potential to improve, Vaibhav describes that “Tricentis has vast and helpful documentation, including the Tosca manuals, along with a detailed description of each section that also contains various tips and techniques. Along with this documentation Tricentis has provided some videos, which are really helpful and help us understand the concept very quickly (and if we want to go into detail, then we can always refer to the detailed manual later) It would be great if there are more video tutorials on the vendor’s support website, at least for commonly used functionalities.”

SmartBear TestComplete

Deva Veluchamy identifies several distinct valuable features:

  • Object spy eases the object identification method.
  • TextObject recognition feature of this product exposes most of the objects to perform the actions.
  • Test items, project variables helps in managing automation suite and scheduling execution.
  • Jenkins integration to schedule executions.
  • Integrated with Selenium webdriver.
  • Conversion of JScript project to Javascript project

Deva Veluchamy also lists several areas where SmartBear TestComplete could improve:

  • Increased performance with less memory and CPU usage.
  • Supports various and different versions of browsers in web testing. (Microsoft Edge, IE 7-11, Chrome 45, Firefox 36-40, Opera 31 are currently supported.)
  • Support to Windows mobile application. (Native iOS and Android apps are supported currently.)
Selenium HQ

Michelle XIE points out twelve different Selenium HQ features that she finds most valuable:

  1. Selenium is a good tool for UI testing.
  2. It works with many popular programming languages such as Java, Javascript and etc.
  3. It supports most of the mainstream browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc.
  4. It supports mobile and local applications as well, and works with Appium.
  5. It is free.
  6. Selenium grid is a wonderful tool.
  7. Browserstack and Sauce Labs work with Selenium.
  8. Headless browser such as Xvfb and PhantomJS can work with selenium as well
  9. Selenium works with CI systems, such as TeamCity, Jenkins, and CircleCI.
  10. Selenium can work with most of the programming language, I use Java more, it is really comfortable to use it.
  11. I do not use Selenium IDE, but it can help the beginner to learn how to find the elements by xpath, css selector and etc.
  12. New GeckoDriver in new version of Selenium

When asked to describe how SeleniumHQ can improve, Michelle XIE lists the following areas for improvement:

  1. Stability
  2. Documentation, the Javadoc description for most of the API is almost empty. No example, not more detail.
  3. It is not easy to make IE + selenium work good as other browsers. Firefox and chrome are the best ones to work with Selenium.
  4. Java gets a lot of supports. Python as well. It seems not PHP. But it is amazing, Selenium can work with a lot of programming languages.
  5. Firefox IDE tool need to be improved.

Read more functional testing tools user reviews at IT Central Station.