Inventory Review Index
NEXThink have taken inventory to a whole new level with their ‘Enterprise Desktop Monitoring’ offering. As well as assets the company also monitors users, devices, packages, applications, executables, binaries, ports, destinations, connections and print jobs.
Their offering provides comprehensive and dynamic inventory information to support IT Asset Management efforts but also provides a contextual layer to the assets on the network to support service management priorities such as lags, delays, crashes, waiting times and bottlenecks.
It is a clever blend of network inventory and desktop monitoring which would be incredibly useful to service management or networking professionals looking to troubleshoot application performance.
Infrastructure and Methodology
NEXThink utilize an installed agent, which sends real time information to a central engine. They promise a ‘Google-like’ search and query experience by saving data in an ‘in-memory’ database for instant access to results.
Day to day administration is via a standard console with additional web based reports. Users of the system can also make use of online knowledge base resources such as predefined investigations, reports and application information such as known security vulnerabilities.
Service Quality Monitoring
NEXThink argue that outside the datacenter and the delivery of production or core infrastructure; the key measurement of performance is user satisfaction. Their offering is designed at identifying issues with service and analyzing the root causes within the infrastructure in order to improve customer experience and availability.
NEXThink begins with a bird’s eye view of services with views of both current and historic performance. Administrators can configure global performance indicators (crashes, time-outs etc.) and business services (exchange, CRM, Intranet etc.).
From this global view issues can easily be identified and investigated via drill down into specific service details. Users of the system can view the relationship and performance issues between end user devices, users, applications, ports and destinations (the final delivery point for a service such as a physical server or cloud).
As well as the high level service overview, users of NEXThink Enterprise Desktop Monitoring can drill down to view the details and analytics for specific devices. Search, browsing and reporting is intuitive and straightforward with seemingly endless drill-down and re-framing of data depending on circumstances.
I see the NEXThink offering as complimentary to traditional IT Asset Management toolsets. It offers a forensic level of detail on assets and configurations, but unlike other tools assessed in this review inventory data can be acted upon and reported on directly from within NEXThink rather than purely feeding another system.
This is inventory on steroids, next generation asset performance, availability, forensics and relationship mapping. NEXThink includes great dashboards, reporting and service-oriented analysis. This is a great resource for hunting down root causes and improving user satisfaction.
Price may put this technology out of reach for some organizations; indicative pricing is $63 per seat for 1,000 Devices. NEXThink is currently only available for the Windows platform.
|Product||NEXThink Enterprise Desktop Monitoring|
|Version||August 2011 (V4)|
|Methodology||Agent based inventory and activity monitoring|
|In a nutshell||Inventory on Steroids; discovery and relationship mapping aimed at user satisfaction and application availability for Windows devices.|
|Primary Market Focus|
|Pricing Model||Priced by seat (Indicative; $78 per seat for 100, $63 for 1,000, $34 for 10,000).|
From the brochure:
“NEXThink is an innovative and fast-growing technology Swiss firm focused on helping IT organizations to address their end-user computing management challenges with a unique self-learning discovery and real-time monitoring technology of their hardware configuration and properties, application and network activities, computer and IT service health.
NEXThink real time desktop monitoring has been adopted in the last four years by more than 170 customers that have deployed the solution on more than 700’00 end-user workplaces across EMEA. By using NEXThink, these IT managers can fully control their desktop transformation projects, engage into virtualization, succeed in infrastructure and operational costs optimization, improve end-user satisfaction and infrastructure support, and validate end-point security and compliance:
- Performing live discovery of contextual inventory including utilization statistics and patterns, getting instant results
- Measuring IT service performance and computer health from each end-user device, preventing incidents and solving user issues much faster
- Ensuring compliance with corporate policy and mitigating risks by detecting unsecure activities
- Monitoring your virtual applications and desktops infrastructure to fine-tune host and network resources. Comparing virtual versus physical infrastructure performance, detect and resolve performance issues.
- Migrate your end-users and infrastructure with confidence, succeed in IT transformation at every step of your project
NEXThink is changing the IT management software experience in the way people can visualize and manage their IT infrastructure with products that are ultra-easy to install, very low in resources and performance impact, ultra-fast navigation and drill-down into live and historical data, and powerful diagnostics, alerting and reporting tools.”