Top APM Tools – 2016 Edition

Application Performance Management (APM) is a way for companies to monitor and manage their software applications and performance. It is a critical function managed by DevOps, IT operations, application teams, developers, support teams, business managers, and other application professionals.

Here at IT Central Station, we offer a crowdsourced platform that allows real users to share their opinions about tech products with the rest of the enterprise tech community. We have compiled over 95,000 views of the top APM tools by real users in 2015 and analyzed their trends in the infographic below. All of our data is based on actual behavior of real users researching and comparing APM vendors on IT Central Station.


If you have any questions regarding our research or would like to read our reviews, please visit our APM section on IT Central Station at

Want to learn more about the top APM solutions on the market? Watch our recorded PeerPanel Webinar – APM Solutions: A User Perspective Roundtable.

HP vs. Juniper vs. Cisco vs. Avaya: Review Roundup for Ethernet Switches

This week we present a Review Roundup of the latest reviews of ethernet switches from the IT Central Station community. To see full product comparisons on IT Central Station:

Read what our real users have to say about the solutions they are using:Ethernet Switches- Cisco vs Avaya vs Juniper vs HP

HP – “Some valuable features include cost per Gigabit Port, Layer 3 Capability, POE SupportBy reducing the need for an in-line power source over Ethernet using injectors for small devices, we are able to power wireless access points. Additionally, cameras, and telephones from a single device. ROI is 350% due to stability in the product, low power use, and administrative requirements such as down time.” Read the full HP review.

Avaya “One of the reasons we selected this product was the per port cost ratio as it is very low while compared to other similar products. The device can be remotely managed using various remote management protocols like SNMP, RMON, and HTTP etc. We did face problems while finding the right connecting cable for administering the device, but once the device is on the network it can be easily managed. We also found the web interface for managing the device, to be very useful.” Read the full review here.

Cisco – “EA Cisco Network Structure consisted of 3 Layers (Core, Distribution & Access). We used the FWSM (Firewall Services Module) to route the traffic and as a gateway to get to the WAN. As a result, we were able to collapse the Core Layer into the Distribution Layer with a few blade modules (FWSM, SUP & Ethernet).” Read the full review here.

Juniper vs. Cisco “I prefer Juniper for the following reasons: Cleaner separation of data plane from control plane, hierarchical config design and easier rollback; I think there are less bugs/vulnerabilities in Junos vs IOS. ” Read the full review.

Visit IT Central Station to read more Ethernet Switch reviews including HP, Avaya, Cisco, NETGEAR, D-Link, Brocade and many more. You can also look at helpful comparison pages like Cisco vs. Juniper, Brocade vs. Netgear to help your research!

HP ConvergedSystem 500 wins MVP award from CTR

Today we feature a guest blog post from Whitney Garcia, of HP. Check out what Whitney has to say about HP ConvergedSystem below.

The HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA powered by Intel is the most cost effective big data solution from HP, designed for business who may be just getting their feet wet with SAP HANA. This solution brings flexibility, reliability and now even greater performance to your datacenter.

Announced May 2015 at SAP Sapphire NOW (and re-introduced at HP Discover Las Vegas), the HP ConvergedSystem 500’s latest update includes availability with the new Intel Xeon E7 v3 architecture. This update means you can experience up to a 39% increase in workload performance and the solution now delivers 12 new scale-up and scale-out configurations.

But it wasn’t the innovative new updates alone that caught the eyes and ears of Computer Technology Review (CTR) when they started selecting products for their 2015 Most Valuable Products awards. It was the flexibility and reliability that set HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA apart.

HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA’s ability to bring customers flexibility through a choice of operating systems, either SUSE Linux or Red Hat Linux OS, means that customers can use an operating systems that they may already be familiar with when beginning their SAP HANA journey, making it that much easier to get up and running. Additionally, the HP ConvergedSystem 500 also offers reliability through support for the latest-generation SAP business suite, SAP S/4HANA.

CTR also recognized HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA’s comprehensive data backup and recovery solution – the hardware infrastructure, monitoring and management features that, “Deliver availability, continuity and reliability through HP Serviceguard for SAP HANA, the industry’s only automated, high availability disaster recovery solution.”

CTR’s MVP award helped validate what HP ConvergedSystem solutions for SAP HANA have set out do to since their inception: to bring lower TCO and higher value to customers through innovation, functionality and affordability.

More on the MVP awards
For the first time in CTR’s 35-year publishing history, their editorial judging panel awarded a select number of honorary MVP awards as a way of recognizing products that are truly in a class by themselves. HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA won a Most Valuable Product award in the Data Storage category.

More information on HP ConvergedSystem solutions for SAP HANA’s latest updates can be found in this article, HP delivers more flexibility and choice in your infrastructure.

And check out the entire Most Valuable Product Award article from CTR, and the full list of 2015 products here.

To see reviews about HP ConvergedSystem on IT Central Station, check out reviews here.

HP 3PAR StoreServ All-Flash News

This week features a guest blog post by Calvin Zito, Storage Expert at HP. Thanks Calvin for your contribution!

To see real user reviews of HP 3PAR, check out IT Central Station.

I like telling stories with video, so here’s another video—this time of our latest ChalkTalk. Here you’ll learn about the new HP 3PAR StoreServ 20800 and 20850. Now how about if I summarize a few things for you here. The announcement includes 25% lower-cost flash capacity, a new class of massively scalable HP 3PAR and flash-optimized data services for ITaaS consolidation and hybrid IT projects.

  • With the ultra-dense and scalable HP 3PAR StoreServ 20000, we’ve dropped the price of all-flash to $1.50 per usable GB.  If we add in the savings from replicas, we drive down the $/GB to 25 cents!
  • As you saw in the ChalkTalk, the all-flash HP 3PAR StoreServ 20850 can deliver over 3.2 million IOPs at sub-millisecond latency and over 75GB/second. On top of that, it can scale to 15PB of useable capacity. Worth mentioning again (with details in the ChalkTalk) is the huge power, cooling and space savings compared to other vendors.
  • We’re introducing a new 3.84TB SSD drive. With our ASIC-enabled data compaction increasing usable capacity by 75%, it brings down the cost of all-flash storage to $1.50/GB usable. That really is flash for the masses!

I also want to summarize some other software enhancements that come with the 20000 System. I talked to a few of our bloggers in advance of the announcement and they were very excited to hear about these enhancements.

  • 3PAR Persistent Checksum. This ensures end-to-end data integrity from the application server through to the storage array for any workload and is completely transparent to the servers and applications. This is implemented in the new 3PAR Gen5 Thin Express ASIC. Here’s another feature you can add to the list that has no impact on array performance.
  • Asynchronous Streaming. This allows for remote replication where latency, distance and recovery are optimized.
  • Bi-directional Peer Motion. We’ve talked about Federation and Peer Motion in the past. Now we’re extending HP 3PAR Peer Motion to include non-disruptive, bi-directional data movement for up to four arrays. This is an entirely native capability without SAN virtualization appliance in the data path. With 3PAR storage federation, you can aggregate up to 60PB of useable capacity with over 10 million IOPs and 300 GB/second. And with a single click, workloads can move between federation members to dynamically rebalance storage resources for cost and performance optimization.
  • HP 3PAR Online Import. This now supports simple migration from HDS TagmaStore Network Storage Controller, US, and VSP systems. So we ae adding to the support we already had for EMC VMAX, VNX and Clariion CX4 as well as HP EVAs.

I’m completely pumped with the enhancements to HP 3PAR – and there’s more to come throughout 2015!

You can check it out for yourself! Read informative reviews, see side-by-side comparisons, and join the discussions taking place in one of our fastest growing categories.

HP 3PAR StoreServ: What are Customers Saying?

This week features a guest blog post by Calvin Zito, Storage Expert at HP. Thanks Calvin for your contribution!

Recently TechTarget named the HP 3PAR StoreServ All-Flash Array (AFA) the product of the year in the category of all-flash.

This is such a satisfying recognition for HP 3PAR AFA because in the early days of HP announcing the 7450 AFA, several AFA start-ups claimed because our AFA wasn’t built from scratch, it didn’t qualify as all-flash storage. I even had one AFA competitor unfollow me on Twitter. He told me “your defense of HP is dutiful but you are displaying a lack of understanding.”

Well, I think HP and I have a very deep degree of understanding – not sure I can say the same for the competitor. This TechTarget recognition and many of the recent wins I’ve seen against the AFA start-ups are proof that the HP 3PAR AFA should be considered by any customer who is looking at all-flash storage.

What is it that is different about HP 3PAR that qualifies it to be considered as an all-flash array?  Here are just a few key things to consider:

  • The performance of the 3PAR AFA is an industry leader, including start-up AFAs beating many of the all-flash start-ups.
  • Deduplication with 3PAR is done via our Gen4 ASIC. That means dedup happens at virtually “line speed”.
  • With 3PAR architecture, we have a unique advantage with AFA. With 3PAR Adaptive Sparing we get an additional 20% capacity out of industry standard SSD – so a 1.6TB SSD used by other AFAs is a 1.9TB drive with HP 3PAR.
  • Because HP 3PAR is an established array (not built from scratch AFA), it has a robust set of data services that no start-up AFA can claim.

TechTarget is the media company behind – if you want to read the AFA Product of the Year award for yourself, you can find it here.

What are customers saying?

These kind of accolades are fantastic but nothing beats hearing directly from our customers. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Christian Teeft. Christian is the CTO of Latisys. Latisys is a US-based hybrid cloud services provider who has standardized on HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage, including the 3PAR all-flash array. Here’s my video with Christian.

You can see many more customer reviews on HP 3PAR StoreServ All-Flash by going to this IT Central Station page. If you want to learn more about HP 3PAR All-Flash, check out my blog at And I’m happy to answer any questions you have – find me on Twitter as @HPStorageGuy.

Disclaimer: IT Central Station does not endorse or recommend any products or services. The views and opinions in this post do not reflect the opinions of IT Central Station.

Flash Storage Comparison: HP vs. NetApp vs. EMC XtremIO

This week at IT Central Station we present a flash storage comparison for the enterprise flash storage market. The Flash Array Storage category is one of the hottest categories at IT Central Station and our community of real users have a lot to say about what flash based storage array they are using. Here are some highlights for this week’s Review Roundup:

HP 3PAR – “Valuable Features: The CPG, Dynamic / Adaptive Optimization, the CLI, and more importantly the way it’s licensed as you are not “tagged” and held hostage when you’re at 1TB, and another, and another, and another.  The licensing is a brilliant approach to the fiscal tourniquet of scalability! Oh..I also like the service processor and how it’s out of band and monitors the SAN, how it does the updates – neat little component. HP 3PAR Improvements to My Organization: Scaling and performance. Easy to add shelves, easy to move data around while everything is hot, move data from tier to tier, expanding a LUN, there are so many ways it’s just amazing how much it’s helped!” Read the full HP 3PAR review here.640px-Light_shining1

EMC XtremIO – “The product, which has finally received updates enabling all common data services expected on a modern storage array (replication is still missing though), doesn’t shine for power consumption, used rack space or other kinds of efficiencies (at this time it’s also impossibile to mix different type of disks for example). But again, granting first class performance and predictability is always the result of a give-and-take. XtremIO is strongly focused on performance and on how it’s delivered. From this point of view it clearly targets traditional enterprise tier 1 applications and it can be considered a good competitor in that space. It clearly needs some improvements here and there…” Read the full EMC review here.

NetApp – “NetApp FAS supports All-Disk, Hybrid Flash and All-Flash data stores – that meet the needs of any kind of application workload. The VNX is a very good All-Disk and Hybrid Flash array and XtremIO is a very good All-Flash array, but you need two completely different products to provide the functionality. NetApp FAS eliminates silos and provides seamless scalability – to address Server Virtualisation, Virtual Desktop, Database and File storage needs in one scale-up and scale-out solution, that can start small and grow large.” Read the full review here.

You can also look at helpful comparisons of multiple enterprise flash storage vendors to help you with your research process such as HP vs. Pure, EMC vs. NetApp and others!

Review Roundup Wireless LAN: HP vs. Cisco vs. Aerohive vs. Aruba

This week’s review roundup features a fast growing category – Wireless LAN. These solutions comprise part of networking solutions and IT Central Station has many new reviews of real users sharing their experiences with the solutions they are using. To see the full comparisons, check out IT Central Station:

Cisco Wireless vs. HP Wireless

Aerohive vs. Aruba

Here are a few helpful excerpts:download

HP Wireless – “The main reason I chose to implement the HP WLC was due to the limitations of our previous Sonicwall WLC not being able to have layer three provisioning. I would say that feature is the most valuable. Improvements to My Organization: With our old wireless network, we had to put controllers at every location to have wireless access. This product allowed us to have one controller at our central location and still provide wireless to our outlying clinics.” Read the full review here.

Aruba Wireless – “The scalability is the key here. We operate in a multi-vendor environment, running proprietary and open source software as well as pretty much every OS in it. We have to be able to adjust features as we need them throughout the WLAN. Improvements to My Organization: WLAN is one of the major functions that allows employee movement without re-doing cabling etc. Room for Improvement: I haven’t encountered an area for improvement and am quite satisfied with the product.” Read the full review here.

Aerohive Wireless – “Easily make changes to the WLAN via the online portal rather than through a hardware controller. Reducing time spent by our team to make changes as when required. Room for Improvement: I personally think the user interface could do with touching up but that’s being overly critical as I can’t think of anything hardware related that requires improvement.” Read the full review here.

Cisco Wireless – “Right now more than 90% of our employees connect on wireless only. That minimizes a huge CapEx on LAN infrastructure. Users can connect from any of the offices of banglalink. Roaming is the biggest advantage we have got so far. For security purposes, certificate based authentication ensures that only banglalink employees can connect to those SSID. Room for Improvement: Reporting and Active Passive Failover on Controller.” Read the full review here.

You can read other reviews of Juniper, Avaya, and more. You can also see side by side comparisons for a useful research tool: For example, Aerohive vs. Avaya or Cisco vs. Juniper.




Is flash storage now mainstream?

This week IT Central Station is featuring a guest blog post by Calvin Zito, Storage Expert at HP. Thanks Calvin for your contribution!

I’ve been thinking about what was the most significant storage trend in 2014. In the past, I’ve been caught up in “hype” – those topics that get more attention than they probably deserve or have vendors all creating their own definition and creating confusion along the way. So I’ve become sensitive to sniffing out hype.

Four or five years ago, solid-state disk (SSD) – or flash – was one of the much-hyped topics. I remember one storage vendor saying that all hard drive disks (HDDs) would be replaced with SSDs by 2013. Well, obviously 2013 came and went, and while SSD was gaining momentum, it wasn’t mainstream. Mark Peters, analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group said, “Solid-state storage is an important emerging change, not just an addition or tweak, in the world of storage.”

Is flash now mainstream?

In a word, yes. So what’s changed now that flash has gone mainstream? Consider several factors:

  • Cost of SSDs has dropped dramatically – by more than 100% since the beginning of 2014
  • Deduplication – an emerging technology used to remove duplicate data that can increase the useable capacity of SSD by 4 to 20 or even 30 times
  • Combining those two factors, the cost per gigabyte (GB) of flash has dropped to the cost of 15k RPM HDDs – at least it has for HP 3PAR StoreServ

More flash for your cash

Adaptive Sparing.pngOne of the unique HP 3PAR innovations that has allowed us to drive down the cost of flash even further is something called Adaptive Sparing. 3PAR has a data striping mechanism called wide striping. This spreads data across all of the drives in 3PAR. As a result of wide striping, we have worked with SSD vendors to have more SSD drive capacity available to use. It releases the spare capacity present in each SSD media to the SSD itself, allowing SSDs to use that spare capacity as additional capacity. For example, what other vendors sell as a 1.6 terabyte (TB) drive is a 1.9 TB drive with HP 3PAR.

I have a short video that tells the flash storage going mainstream story from a customer’s perspective. Lee Pedlow is the Sr. Director of Production Services at Sony Network Entertainment International. He joins the head of HP Storage David Scott to discuss the benefits they see with flash storage. Lee talks about:

  • Doing a “bake-off” with EMC, Pure Storage and HP 3PAR
  • Choosing HP 3PAR All-Flash because they saw a 5-to-10 fold performance improvement
  • Consolidating from 7 racks of EMC VMAX to a single rack of HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 All-Flash Storage – and the rack they’re using is only 25% occupied
  • Transfering and integrating data with their existing Oracle applications was transparent

Read more about HP 3PAR Flash Arrays or download a free buyer’s guide for more information!

Data Warehousing Review Roundup: Exadata vs. HP Vertica vs. SQL Server Data Warehouse

This week’s review roundup includes reviews of Data Warehousing solutions. Choosing the right solution can be key for businesses as these solutions integrate data from disparate sources to create a central repository, or Warehouse. Here are some recent reviews from our community members of three Data Warehousing solutions:warehouse

Exadata – “We have a number of statistics collected before cutover on our legacy environment compared to Exadata. Without doing anything other than copying the data across, we saw significant performance gains for most key processes. We receive feedback from users stating how fast the performance is compared to other systems. Performance issues are few and far between. Our database environment is extremely stable compared to the legacy DB configuration. The patching process is a continually evolving. It’s changed drastically over the years and foresee some continued refinement on the horizon, especially when comparing the process to something like ODA. We have one one-off patch which requires a SR with Oracle Support every time the quarterly patch comes out. This is a bit of a pain but I do know sometimes these one-offs get rolled into the quarterly patch or in our case the next version ( ” Read more here.

HP Vertica – “Not having to worry about speed or data volume changes you. Suddenly we began logging and reporting on everything. Where did users click? How long between clicks? How long does it take to type in a credit card number when you’re ready to pay? How much free memory does an iPad 1 have, and how does that change every second? Like all software engineers, we solve problems under constraints, and we had conditioned ourselves to think of logged data volume as a constraint. Suddenly that was no longer a constraint, but I would say it took us a full year to fully appreciate how powerful that was.” Read full review here.

SQL Server Data Warehouse – “Microsoft SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse provides significant performance boost from 10-100 X times faster for data loading operation. It minimized the cost of design with lower infrastructure requirements. It is designed to provide optimized performance on latest industry hardware. It requires significant infrastructure expertise to implement. Possibility of over specified storage or under specified CPU (need proper planning before starting implementation) It requires significant SQL Server expertise. Microsoft SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse is purposely built to provide high performance data warehousing. By adopting industry standard hardware it avoids vendor lock-in issue. It is best suited for mid-level to large scale organization.” Read full review here.

Visit IT Central Station to browse real user reviews of Data Warehouse solutions including InfobrightGreenplum, and more!