Free Webinar- How User Generated Content is Changing the Marketing Game

IT Central Station is delighted to be hosting a free webinar with three of the biggest names in enterprise technology marketing. Our three guest speakers will be giving actionable insights into how to incorporate user generated content into your marketing strategy.

On Wednesday 29th March 2017, at 10am PT our CEO, Russell Rothstein will be joined by:

  • Roland Smart, VP of Social and Community Marketing at Oracle
  • Emily Miller, Senior Director, Brand and Audience Marketing at NetApp
  • Wendy Perilli, Senior Director, Global Integrated Marketing Programs at ServiceNow

Register today

 

We Want You To #BeOpinionated For International Women’s Day

Last year, just over 10% of the user reviews on our site were written by women, and we know we can do better. We would like your help to make 2017 the year where women’s voices are heard on all matters in the Enterprise Tech world.

So how can you help? Sign up today for IT Central Station, and review the solutions you know and use. Let your voices be heard, and #BeOpinionated!

When you are done, you can check out some of our great video reviews taken at technology conferences and events in the last year.

 

Cloud Monitoring Software Reviews- Best of 2016

IT Central Station users review the best server monitoring solutions of 2016

Cloud monitoring software enables professionals to monitor and successfully manage their applications hosted on the cloud. IT Central Station tech professionals rated several of these solutions based on usability, customer support, installation ease, compatibility, and more. Here are the top five cloud monitoring software vendors according to our community of 168,000+ tech experts.

cloud_monitoring_solutions

CA Unified Infrastructure Management

According to IT Central Station members, CA Unified Infrastructure Management delivers more than just cloud monitoring by allowing users to monitor their entire IT environment from one lightweight, powerful, and scalable software option. According to Craig Darnell, this software’s most valuable feature is “the ability to be able to pull data out of multiple data sources and surface it all into a single tool. Some of the other tools that we had were very limited, with UIM you can scrape virtually any data source.”

Room for Improvement

However, Aymen Touzi remarks, “Product stability and performance, especially in Linux environments needs to be improved.”

SevOne

SevOne offers digital infrastructure performance monitoring for various types of applications, devices, and environments. Carlos Reyes, an IT Central Station enterprise level expert, had this to say about SevOne: “It detects trends in metrics that prevent saturation, high temperatures in data centers, and provides visibility into the fantastic elements that help make the verification of real-time events.”

Room for Improvement

At the same time, Harish Kumar, a network engineer, found areas that needed improvement, as he mentions in his cloud monitoring software review: “I’d like to see a configuration management feature that lets me customize analyses and data points important to me at any specific time.”

Opsview Enterprise

Sysadmins within the IT Central Station community enjoy Opsview Enterprise for its highly customizable and straightforward comprehensiveness. Amir Heidari, a senior systems engineer, noted several benefits to this cloud monitoring software option including: “Easy setup hosts, easy configuring service checks, very easy-to-use interface, especially starting from v5 onwards, advanced tweaking possibilities, and netflow.”

Room for Improvement

Nonetheless, according to enterprise tech user Wayne Viljoen: “if it were to become more than a super monitoring tool, I would wish for an integrated CMDB and call-logging module to create a standalone integrated IT service management system out of it. It has the potential!”

ScienceLogic

ScienceLogic provides enterprise level techs with a customizable dashboard that can manage both cloud and on-premise environments simultaneously and under one software application. Nick Usherwood, another tech expert in the IT Central Station community, has this to say about ScienceLogic: “It enables us to monitor a diverse set of vendors…Now we’re able to resolve client problems not only before they have a problem but also when we have to troubleshoot we can look back in time and can get a picture of what was going on with the network to avoid repeat occurrences.”

Room for Improvement

Jeffrey Bailey found the following area lacking in ScienceLogic’s cloud monitoring software: “I would like to see an expansion of the API.”

If you’re interested in learning more about this and other similar solutions, read more in-depth cloud monitoring software peer reviews here.

LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor received high ratings from the IT Central Station enterprise community because of it’s efficient and flexible application management and end-to-end visibility for actionable metrics. Brandon Myers of our tech professional-based community mentioned the following valuable features of LogicMonitor: “It’s a platform that allows us to put custom business requirements into the system, so we are able to pull information out of databases or other business-proof applications, and present the data in a dashboard that is useful.”

Room for Improvement

Troy Muncy wants to see the following improvements in the future: “while the portal is wonderful for monitoring and alerting and the way the data is presented (easy to read, bright, etc.), it would be nice if the remote access function was more stable and, instead of it being a legacy add-on, it became part of the product suite.”

Stay up to date on the latest cloud monitoring software reviews from IT Central Station.

Server Monitoring Solution Reviews- Best of 2016

IT Central Station users review the best server monitoring solutions of 2016.

Server monitoring solutions monitor your network for errors or slow components in your systems, notifying you of these issues for comprehensive network management. Our community has reviewed their server monitoring solutions throughout 2016 to help you pick the top server monitoring solution for your needs in 2017.

server_monitoring_vendors_

CA Unified Infrastructure Management

CA Unified Infrastructure Management was ranked number one by our reviewers. Some of the valuable features of this server monitoring solution that users like Sharif Alghowail appreciate include:

  • The nimbus architecture
  • Scalability
  • Modular design
  • Product coverage
  • Ease of deployment

Room for Improvement

But Craig Darnell points out areas that require improvement like “continuing to mature the SNP collector and the network side of the tools they’re still not as strong as they need to be.”

SevOne

SevOne specializes in near real-time availability of raw data, virtual appliance installation, and the its ability tot separate and diagnose network issues. Ken O’Connor particularly likes features like capacity monitoring/reporting and graphing, netflow stats gathering, and infrastructure availability monitoring.

Room for Improvement

At the same time, Akash Tyagi would like to see application session tracking, improved virtual appliance scalability, and dashboard and report delivery.

Oracle Enterprise Manager

Oracle Enterprise Manager lets enterprise level professionals handle both on-premise and cloud-based IT within one single frame. IT Central Station users like Erik Benner appreciate this comprehensive approach, as he mentions in his review: “I think the neatest, most valuable feature of Enterprise Manager (OEM) is that single pane of glass for the whole stack, that it gives me as an admin the ability to look all the way up from my storage all the way up to the application tier.”

Room for Improvement

Still, Farooq Khalid notes: “Middleware (weblogic) has some bugs and crashes occur which should be fixed to make OEM more productive.”

Opsview Enterprise

Simply put by the IT Central Station tech experts, Opsview Enterprise makes it easier for sysadmins to do their jobs. This sentiment is found in numerous real user reviews, like the one from Joe Pothecary, where he says, “The system is very robust and very rarely breaks. It just sits there working, doing what’s expected. Very little maintenance is needed and the support is very good. I would say stability is the most valuable feature. I’m struggling to think of a time when it actually crashed or when we had a problem.”

Room for Improvement

Valentin Hobel does see room for improvement with the solution. For example, he says 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.”

If you think Opsview Enterprise is a good solution for you, compare it to other options through these server monitoring software peer reviews.

ScienceLogic

Ranked number five according to the IT Central Station community, ScienceLogic is a solution intended to enhance the efficiency of businesses through constant network monitoring and reporting.

Arthur Panos writes: “Event creation, device relation building, and customization are excellent aspects of ScienceLogic for infrastructure and application monitoring. Dashboards are another excellent feature as that provides a visual representation to application owners and support teams.”

Room for Improvement

Jason Keck reports on a small area of improvement for ScienceLogic, and notes: “In many different areas of the product there are terminology inconsistencies, these inconsistencies are within the product and also within the IT world, these are definite area’s that need improvement; however with a little use they become second nature.”

See the full top 10 solutions for server monitoring software in 2016 and other tech solutions with peer reviews that you can trust on the IT Central Station website.

Storage Management Software Reviews- Best of 2016

Storage management software is crucial for keeping your entire network organized. These storage management solutions allow IT professionals to access and move information across data centers and virtual machines.

IT Central Station tech experts have reviewed their storage management solutions, and we you can see the five top-ranking storage management solutions according to our community. 

storage_management_vendors

NetApp OnCommand

NetApp OnCommand is a storage management solution that provides enterprise professionals with extensive management capabilities and clustered Data ONTAP.

Matej Kocmur, an IT administrator, notes: “The most valuable feature is the system manager itself. The system manager helps us to manage our NetApp server with a user-friendly GUI instead of a CLI, but sometimes we also need to use the CLI, because some features are not available in the GUI. Most often, we use it to create aggregates, storage virtual machines, volumes, shares (like CIFS and NFS), and also to present disks (from NetApp) on some other physical or virtual machine to perform several tests.”

Room for Improvement

However, Kocmur says NetApp OnCommand needs a more intuitive, browser-based GUI, storage virtual machine management, and built-in reports at enterprise level.

EMC VPLEX

EMC VPLEX storage management enables managers to access all information simultaneously and uninterrupted. According to IT Central Station user Mark Burgess, “VPLEX Metro is a storage virtualization appliance, that can simultaneously read/write to the same data across two data centres, consisting of Inter-cluster, host, and storage connectivity, Witness software, and 2 x FC switches per site.”

Room for Improvement

At the same time, Steven Johnston notes that VPLEX/VE supports VNXe and iSCSI only, a very limiting restriction.

Read more of this and other storage management software reviews.

CA Vantage Storage Resource Manager

A mainframe storage manager (MainframeStgMgr057) reviewed CA Vantage Storage Resource Manager saying “The most valuable features are recording, treading, and automation because they help me support the system. I have many systems and being able to find out information that I can use instantaneously is a big help. Doing my job with a click on a button — you can’t put price on that.”

Room for Improvement

On the other hand, Chakib El Warari says “ It is a work-in-progress product. As and when we find issues, we contact their support team and they are always quick to react. I would like the data on the mainframe side to be compressed and extended.”

CA 1 Tape Management

The purpose behind CA 1 Tape Management is to simplify and unify the management and protection of z/OS tape data sets and volumes. As per the mainframe storage manager from the IT Central Station community, “It lets me know where my data is, where my files are, and what tapes are used.CA 1 is our intake management system, and it’s just a one of the best products out there.”

Room for Improvement

That being said, this same manager notes “Sometimes it doesn’t detect all chaining errors and the reporting on them could be improved as well.”

CA Allocate DASD Space and Placement

The CA Allocate DASD Space and Placement solution provides an automated way of fixing data on the fly. Community user MainframeStgMgr057 had a lot to say about this storage management vendor including, “It’s a space recovery product that helps us fix problems before they happen so we work on them after running a job.”

Room for Improvement

Of course, every solution has room for improvement. This same enterprise professional mentions CA Allocate DASD Space and Placement software needs better ease of support. When problems are detected, “I don’t have to touch a file. I want just to update what I want to update and it does the update itself.”

Read more real user reviews from IT professionals on the top 10 storage management solutions of 2016 from the IT Central Station community.

 

Application Lifecycle Management Reviews – Best of 2016

An application lifecycle management suite takes care of the governance, development, and general maintenance of all the computer programs within a network. 2016’s top solutions were ranked by the IT Central Station community, and you can read their full application lifecycle management reviews here. Now see where the future of ALM vendors is leading with the best solutions for enterprise professionals in 2017.

Application Lifecycle Management Reviews from our users

JIRA

JIRA is the most popular application lifecycle management vendor according to our tech experts. Joe Friedrichsen says about the powerful product, “Using this for backlog prioritization is the key to either kanban or scrum processes. JIRA does a great job of articulating the story and adding elements to the story to help in the prioritization. If you are overseeing multiple projects, it allows you to easily follow the team’s progress. Another feature is the ability to incorporate add-ons. It’s great to have for those one-off processes you need. For example, the integration with Confluence.”

Room for Improvement

Several users, including Matt Shelton, feel Jira needs better “collaboration on open action items and active ongoing projects” to improve the product.

HPE ALM

With the highest average rating from IT Central Station community members, HPE ALM runs off of a centralized repository and is one of the first unified technology-agnostics AMS on the market. As Mike Puntumapanitch puts it, “ALM is our gold source repository for quality. That’s where we store everything, from requirements, test cases, defects, and all of the artifacts around certifying that quality is evident in every release, in every STLC product we produce.”

Room for Improvement

At the same time, Mr. Puntumapanitch, commented that HPE ALM needs a huge UI overhaul to make it more user friendly.

TFS

Visual Studio Team Foundation Software (TFS) is Microsoft’s homegrown ALM suite. Available both locally and in the cloud, TFS follows software development along the entire IT lifecycle. IT Central Station community user Raúl Lendinez Álvarez says, “With TFS we can manage the whole application lifecycle with a single product, and it is visible for all the team members. We use it to perform continuous integration, making build operations each night and increasing quality process to prevent code regressions.”

Room for Improvement

Some members believe that TFS is too complicated for SCM and IT personnel to manage. Alexander Igubnov says that the system has to be more simplistic and interactive.

HPE Agile Manager

HPE Agile Manager is one of the top five ALM solutions according to our enterprise reviewers. Feature-rich dashboards, quality Sprint task boards, and both dev and testing community integration makes this product stand out.

Carl Parkin enjoys several HPE Agile Manager features including “all of the metrics that you can get on-demand, pulling from ALM Quality Center. Test runs and all of that kind of stuff. Also the way the user stories can be in some kind of architecture, so themes, features, user stories, linking those from one to another to another, being able to link two different entities to one story card that might be dependent on another one being complete, you can link those two.”

Room for Improvement

At the same time, user Jonathan Graham would like to see wider support for IDEs and NetBeans support.

Parasoft Development Testing Platform

Parasoft Development Testing Platform is easy to use and administer. Hristo Damyanov thinks “active directory authorization through ldap is valuable,” and has noted that this solution “has enabled the company’s test teams to automate the most common and trivial tests, saving time and delivering consistency.”

Room for Improvement

Damyanov also notes that there is room for improvement in the area of tool integration.

Get even more information about the right application lifecycle management vendor for you with real user reviews from IT Central Station.

Project Portfolio Management Reviews – Best of 2016

What are Project Portfolio Management Solutions?

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions centrally manage a company’s processes, methods, and technologies. Project managers and project management officers (PMOs) typically use PPM solutions to analyze and collectively manage current or proposed projects based on a variety of key characteristics.

You can find real user project portfolio management reviews for top solutions in the category on IT Central Station. These were the products that performed the best in building, customizing, and integrating various projects and business applications. Our users evaluated the most essential criteria including usability, integration, and outstanding features, so you can get a real perspective on each of these project portfolio management software and make an informed decision.

Project Portfolio Management Reviews from real users

Project Portfolio Management Reviews from real users

CA PPM

CA PPM is one of the best project portfolio management vendors because it takes the juggling out of this complex arena. Instead of having to shuffle between various platforms, applications, and tools, CA PPM provides users with a single, standardized option that keeps everything organized and manageable. Some of the outstanding features include:

  • NSQL queries and portlets
  • XOG data transfers
  • Sandbox services

Our community notes that CA PPM could make their product even better by updating Open Workbench to the standard Windows usability range and expanding reporting capabilities.

Microsoft Project Server

Microsoft Project Server has a lot of valuable features according to IT Central Station project portfolio management reviews. It’s flexible, and makes working simple even from a remote location. In addition, Microsoft Project Server offers the following benefits:

  • Excellent scheduling rules and system
  • Customizable attributes
  • SharePoint enabled

While there was a lot of positive feedback, some reviewers found that the financial management and resource reservation workflow could use an upgrade.

Planisware

Planisware is one of the top project portfolio management vendors because it makes prioritization of tasks and resources as easy as possible. Users effortlessly plan projects, assign resources, schedule tasks, and create projections all within this tool. Planisware also:

  • Manages complex projects and long-term horizons
  • Utilizes an extensive set of algorithms and parametric estimations for resource planning
  • Offers fully-loaded project cost estimation, portfolio reviews, and budget preparations

On the other hand, one of our users wrote that Planisware can be difficult to upgrade from one version to the next and requires more involved action if users want to add new features.

KeyedIn Projects

IT Central Station reviewers appreciate KeyedIn Projects as a leader in this industry because it delivers real-time visibility of every angle of a project including portfolio, resources, costs, and more. Users can take advantage of this tool with:

  • Custom reports
  • Online access with security access limits
  • Great customer support for troubleshooting

IT Central Station reviewers have also commented that simplifying the admin functions would make KeyedIn Projects an even better resource for businesses.

If you are looking for a comprehensive, all-in-one tool to help get your organization running efficiently, check out the latest that the industry has to offer with these peer-generated project portfolio management reviews.

Continuous Compliance: How to Combat Regulatory Fatigue

Guest post by Reuven Harrison CTO and Co-Founder, Tufin

Whether it’s protecting consumer credit card numbers, a company’s intellectual property, or a patient’s medical records, most of the government and industry regulations in place today were designed to protect the privacy and safety of people, as well as valuable applications and data. Given the escalating global problem with privacy and security, these regulations were needed. However, the downside of this is that enterprises must now operate under the requirements of multiple regulations and security standards. What we’re seeing as a result is something I call “regulatory fatigue,” where enterprises face a jungle of constraining regulations that ultimately inhibit their agility and productivity.

For many of our customers, the compliance burden is growing annually, but the budget for supporting it is not. There can be several audits per year for separate regulations such as PCI DSS, SOX, and so on. Additionally, it’s becoming more common today for business partners to require a controls assessment before entering into a services contract. Unfortunately for many companies, manual processes remain prevalent. For example, many compliance managers are still tracking their organization’s regulatory status in a manual spreadsheet, increasing their exposure to risk and even hefty compliance-violation fines.

Enterprises can reduce their regulatory fatigue and maintain their agility by shifting their approach to one of “continuous compliance.” That is, attaining a state where all compliance requirements are met, and then continuously maintaining that state. It’s easier and less time-consuming than the traditional “snapshot-in-time” approach. And when continuous compliance is achieved by automating policy violation alerts, remediation efforts and change processes, it becomes even more efficient and controlled, avoiding the delays and mis-configurations often associated with manual procedures.

Our experts have put together a survival guide to help CISOs, CSOs, Chief Compliance Officers and other stakeholders who must ensure regulatory compliance within their organizations. This guide walks through some of the key regulations in every industry, and gives detailed steps on how to adopt the continuous compliance approach.

If you’re ready to put an end to regulatory fatigue, download the free compliance survival guide today.

Understanding The Layers Of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Guest post by Michael Haag, Product Line Marketing Manager in the Storage and Availability Business Unit at VMware.

We’re almost half way through 2016 and it continues to shape up to be the year of hyper-convergence. Combine faster CPUs, lower cost flash (with exciting technologies on the horizon) and software innovation with the majority of data centers using server virtualization, now is the time to extend existing infrastructure investments with newer, modern solutions.

Three months ago, VMware introduced Virtual SAN 6.2 and gave this hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) stack a name: VMware Hyper-Converged Software (VMware HCS). Virtual SAN 6.2 introduced a major set of new features to help improve space efficiency and management (check out the What’s New in 6.2 blog for those details). The latter is a marketing name to help us refer to the software stack of Virtual SAN, vSphere and vCenter Server.

With all the various terms and names being used to refer to HCI and the components, I want to take a few minutes to help clarify the terms we use at VMware and break down our view of HCI.

Does Virtual SAN = HCI?

Short answer: no. We sometimes use HCI, VMware HCS and even Virtual SAN in similar ways to refer to a solution where compute and storage functions are delivered from the hypervisor software on a common x86 platform (i.e. HCI). While all those terms are related to HCI, they refer to specific components or groups of components that make up a full hyper-converged infrastructure solution.

It’s important to understand that Virtual SAN on its own is not hyper-converged infrastructure. Virtual SAN is software-defined storage that is uniquely embedded directly in vSphere. Virtual SAN refers to the software that virtualizes the compute layer by abstracting and pooling together the direct attached storage devices (SSDs, HDDs, PCIe, etc…) into shared storage.

Because Virtual SAN is so tightly integrated with (and dependent on) vSphere, whenever you talk about running Virtual SAN, the assumption is the compute virtualization piece from vSphere is there too.

Similarly, vSphere with Virtual SAN requires hardware to run it—as someone reminded me recently, software without hardware is about as useful as an ejection seat on a helicopter (think about that one for a sec if needed).

vmware blog image 1

As the image shows, HCI refers to the overall solution that includes two major components: hyper-converged software and industry-standard hardware. Without both of those pieces, you do not have HCI. From VMware, our software stack is VMware HCS, but that stack can look different for different vendors.

VMware has a unique advantage in that VMware HCS is a tightly integrated software stack embedded in the kernel and is the only vendor that provides such level of integration.

This architectural advantage delivers a number of benefits including: Performance, simplicity, reliability and efficiency.

Do all HCI solutions look the same?

While all HCI solutions generally follow this blueprint of having a software stack built on a hypervisor that runs on industry-standard hardware, in the end they can look very different and can have varying degrees of integration.

All HCI solutions generally follow the same blueprint outlined above. They start with server virtualization (some hypervisor, which is more times than not vSphere) and then add in software-defined storage capabilities, which can be delivered tightly integrated like Virtual SAN or bolted on as a virtual storage appliance (separate VM on each server). That software is then loaded onto an x86 platform.

Some vendors package that together into a turnkey appliance that can be bought as a single sku, making those HCI layers less transparent and the deployment easier. One example of that type of HCI solution includes VCE VxRail HCI Appliance (which we’ve done with EMC) and is built on the full VMware HCS stack.

VMware HCS also offers you the ability to customize your hardware platform. You can choose from over 100 pre-certified x86 platforms from all of the major server vendors. We call these hardware options our Virtual SAN Ready Nodes.

An advantage to the Ready Node approach is that you can choose to deploy hardware that you already know. Equally important, but often overlooked, is that the relationships that you have with a partner or vendor, the procurement process you have in place and the support agreements with your preferred server vendor can all be leveraged. No need to create new support and procurement silos. No need to learn a new hardware platform including how to manage, install and configure it.

You can also read unbiased VMware Virtual SAN reviews from the tech community on IT Central Station.