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Choosing the right CMDB

If you’ve been looking at IT infrastructure management tools, the info below should help make sense of all the different options.

From regular old Excel to the fanciest enterprise CMDB tools, there are dozens of alternatives out there that promise that they’ll help you track your complex web of IT inventory and give you visibility into its complex relationships.

We want to make your decision as easy as possible, so we’ve put together some info that will help you decide which option is best for you.

Below, you’ll find details on the differences between Device42, Excel, and enterprise CMDBs like ServiceNow and BMC, including features, customer experience, pricing and thoughts from current Device42 customers who have made the switch.

The Excel & Visio ‘Solution’

At one end of the spectrum, Excel (maybe augmented by Visio) is the absolute simplest solution. It’s what you’ve been using for years, and it’s what you know best.

The problem that many teams run into is that Excel can be too simple.

You end up with lots and lots of sheets and as you start tracking complex relationships between different configuration items, Excel just can’t handle it. And even if it could, the explosion of assets caused by virtualization, cloud computing, and software-defined networks and storage results in an unreasonably large manual effort to keep things up to date.

On the other end, enterprise CMDB tools like ServiceNow and BMC offer tons of features. Feature-rich, however, certainly doesn’t translate to simple.

We in fact started Device42 precisely because we were tired of having to build the relationships one-by-one, or having to hire a consulting agency to do the setup and then watching it all fall apart because it was too tough to keep the information up-to-date.

Device42 is built with pre-defined relationships so you can implement it quickly, and with powerful auto-discoveries so you don’t have to worry about your data being (or becoming) stale.

On top of that, Device42 includes a simple interface and powerful reporting so you don’t have to navigate a maze of features you don’t need.

You’re also completely free to enhance Device42 beyond the core CMDB. Take advantage of custom fields, custom form layouts, and a rich RESTful API.

Simplicity
Simplicity

Auto-discovery

Talk about beating a horse to death 🙂 While you may be saying enough already about auto-discovery (and many enterprise tools claim to have auto-discovery built-in), there are key differences:

  • Device42 is agentless. You don’t have to find every device and put an agent on it. Device42 finds them for you without agents.
  • Holistic approach. Device42 connects to your network devices, hypervisors (VMware, HyperV, Citrix, Xen, Openstack, Cloudstack, and more), Cloud platforms (Amazon, Azure, Joyent, Linode, Digital Ocean and more), blade systems, UCS, IPMI, DNS, Windows, Linux & Unix OS’s and correlates the interrelationships and dependencies automatically. For example, if Device42 finds a mac address on a switch port from a network device, it correlates that with a Windows VM which is on a blade sitting in a particular slot in a chassis. And it finds what services are on that machine and calculates the dependencies on other machines/services on your network.
Tenant Services Example

Visualizations

Admit it – you manage a complex IT Infrastructure. Keeping that Visio file up-to-date hasn’t happened recently and may never happen. Device42 provides infrastructure visualizations that make Visio-like diagrams available at your finger tips – all dynamically generated without manual effort.

Complex service to service relationships, rack layouts, room capacity heatmaps, applications dependency maps, and IP and power chain maps are some of the things that Device42 provides and most of it is automatically laid out for you. These tools help you make effective business decisions with right data presented in the right way.

Impact Charts
IP Address Tracking Software

Integrations

A true CMDB should not be an isolated application. You likely have monitoring tools, automation tools, ticketing tools, finance tools, and so on that can benefit from the information in your CMDB. Many enterprise CMDBs make these integrations time consuming and expensive. With Device42, you get a lot of integrations out of the box plus REST APIs that make it a breeze to integrate with other tools.

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Pricing

We get it: Excel is free. Free is a great price.

But we believe that the value you’ll get from Device42 far outweighs the cost.

And more than a thousand happy users in 33 countries agree. If our auto-disovery and collaboration features can save your team just ten hours per month, then Device42 will more than pay for itself.

Try Device42 for Free!

Making the switch is easy with migration utilities and imports.

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